The Michoacan cableway aims to be a modern public transportation system powered by clean energy, while also serving as a catalyst for tourism by attracting at least 500,000 new tourists annually and generating an estimated economic impact of US$41.1 million. Developers claim it will help alleviate traffic and complement public and private land transportation. However, the project has raised questions about its viability and legality.
The cableway project represents a US$164.5 million investment. It will have six stations. From East to West, stations will be Mercado Poniente, Centro, Presidencia, Agora, Conasupo, and IMSS. The cableway will transport up to 1,500 people per hour in each direction for a MX$10 (US$0.54) fare. Furthermore, it will operate on 100% clean energy.
The cableway will be built jointly by Doppelmayr Mexico and Grupo INDI, says Blas Brando, Director of Operations, Doppelmayr Mexico, an Austrian company that won the project bid.
Its complementary projects include the improval of public transportation in Uruapan using a US$27.4 million investment to renovate over 20km of roads, says Gladys Butanda, Michoacan’s Minister of Urban Development and Mobility. This program will include social projects such as recreational and sports facilities.
Additionally, the state government assigned a US$2 million fund to renew 52 public transportation vehicles. The fund will support up to 30% of the vehicles’ cost to help transportation companies to renew their fleets.
However, critics argue that there have been various protests alleging the lack of proper consultation with transport operators and representatives of officially established routes, according to a petition by Edna Díaz, Deputy, PRD. Critics also point to the absence of environmental impact studies and required budgetary documents.
Grupo Imagen argues that the Comprehensive Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (PIMUS) of Uruapan study, used by Governor of Michoacan Alfredo Ramírez to back the project, presents one unviable scenario and another that requires a significant upfront investment.
Insecurity also poses a problem, as Michoacan ranks fourth in the highest number of homicides in 2023.
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