By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Despite the fact that Mexico still ranks in fourth place in the number of covid-19 deaths (after the United States, India and Brazil), President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) administration has committed far more financial resources to his pet Tren Maya tourist train than to public health efforts to curb the pandemic, according to a report from the government’s own Finance and Public Credit Secretariat (SHCP).
As an article published in the Mexican El Universal newspaper on Sunday, May 9, pointed out, the president’s controversial Tren Maya has already cost the country 348.52 million pesos, and to complete the project, the government will have to shell out an additional 161.356 billion pesos, plus 139.4 billion for maintenance and operational contracts for the next 30 years.
Moreover, 8.69 billion pesos will be required for the acquisition of additional rolling stock between 2033 and 2043.
According to SHCP information on the supplementary expenditures of the project, the total cost of the train and eight complementary tourist development projects that are being built with it will amount to almost 40 billion pesos, in addition to the construction of the Tren Maya railway.
That figure is about 14 times higher than the total financial resources that the government has allocated to the Institute of Health for Wellbeing (Insabi), the Public Health Secretariat, and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) combined to combat the covid-19 pandemic.
Over the now year-long health emergency, these agencies have spent collectively 36 billion pesos on equipment, instruments and medicines, according the the SHCP.
If the 17 billion pesos that the federal government said last week that it had allocated to purchase covid vaccines are factored in, the Tren Maya project would still cost more than eight times what the AMLO administration has earmarked to confront the pandemic.
The Tren Maya price tag is also 3.7 times higher than the cost of the Mexico-Toluca Interurban Train, which in March of this year was updated to a whopping 94 billion pesos by the SHCP.