The planned design for the now-scrapped New Mexico International Airport. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

Mexico’s Superior Auditor of the Federation (ASF) calculated that the cancellation of the New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) back in 2018 cost the nation 331.9 billion pesos, almost three times its projected amount.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) National Regeneration Movement (Morena) government previously estimated the cancellation to cost 100 billion pesos, and touted the potentially large savings as a reason to terminate the project, when in reality the lost project cost 232 percent more than the government’s figure.

The ASF’s 2019 audit broke down the costs, showing 163.5 billion pesos of the terminated airport’s price tag, or 49.3 percent of the total cost, was incurred between 2014 and 2018 prior to its cancellation, which includes 70.4 billion pesos of non-recoverable investment, and a further 7 billion pesos were relegated to the cancellation of contracts for work and services.

Another 50.8 billion and 35.7 billion pesos were used to refund 30 percent of bonds and to liquidate stock certificates, respectively. Legal costs surrounding NAIM’s cancellation reportedly amounted to 498 million pesos.

The 2019 audit also reported 168.4 million pesos, or the remaining 50.7 percent of the cost, were appropriated to pending obligations with contract cancellations, the liquidation of contracts, the liquidation of bonds and in-process lawsuits.

The general consensus is that the airport’s already-high cost will increase with time, as the amount of pending contracts, lawsuits and claims filed surrounding the cancellation have not yet been identified or quantified by the airport group, the results of which would likely raise the cost.

“It was identified that these factors may cause an increase in the estimated cost of cancelling the NAIM, so it is necessary for the Airport Group of Mexico City (GACM) to constantly monitor them, in order to identify the total cost that will be incurred with the cancellation of the project,” read the ASF report.

...Feb. 22, 2021

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