A projecting of Mexico’s Tren Maya tourist train. Photo: Fonatur


One of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) pet megaprojects — the construction of multi-billion-peso Tren Maya tourist train across the Yucatan Peninsula — keeps getting costlier and costlier, while projections for its completion keep getting delayed.

According to the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur), the Tren Maya will cost up to 47 percent more than originally predicted due to a rise in the international price of steel and other raw materials and modifications of its route to accommodate demands of local residents.

On Monday, Sept. 20, Fonatur estimated that the project will cost roughly 230 billion pesos, about 74 billion pesos more than what was initially foreseen by the government.

So far, the Tren Maya project, which AMLO bestowed to the Defense Secretariat (Sedena) as part of his build-up-the-military-in-Mexico efforts, has cost the country more than 200 billion pesos, 28 percent more than the 156 billion peso budget first presenting in a government cost-benefit analysis two and a half years ago.

“There is no expenditure ceiling as such for the Tren Maya,” Fonatur Director Rogelio Jiménez Pons told El Financiero newspaper. “However, it seems likely that we are going to end up spending about 230 billion pesos … which is an acceptable price.”

Jiménez Pons also said that the project’s expected completion date has now been postponed by an additional five months due to delays related to climate issues, archeological discoveries, a shortage of materials and the continuing covid-19 pandemic.

Also, a new plan by AMLO’s leftist regime to connect the Tren Maya to the Isthmus de Tehuantepec corridor in Oaxaca, on the other side of the country, has represented added costs, he said.

As of now, Jiménez Pons said, the Tren Maya project is about 20 percent completed, and the government hopes to reach 30 percent by the end of the year, to finish the first stage of its construction in December 2023.


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