July 16, 2013 in Business

Mexico to invest in rail, telecom

Country envisions itself as hub of Latin America
Mark Stevenson Associated Press
 

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican government announced plans Monday to invest about $100 billion in rail, road, telecom and port projects over the next five years, including Mexico’s first high-speed rail links.

Among the projects is the modernization or building of four airports, seven seaports and about 3,350 miles of highways. The government will strengthen fiber-optic networks and expand broadband Internet access, and speed up freight train service.

“Mexico can be the great logistics platform for Latin America,” Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said. “We have to create significant savings in the time and cost of transporting goods.”

But in announcing the plan, President Enrique Pena Nieto emphasized the goal of reviving passenger trains in Mexico.

For more than a century, Mexico depended on railways to move goods and passengers, and rebels even fought much of the 1910-17 Revolution from trains. But Mexico abandoned all regular passenger trains more than a decade ago because the service was of poor quality and little-used. Existing lines were given over to moving freight, considered the priority, and only a handful of short tourist train routes remain.

Pena Nieto said Monday that about 360 miles of high-speed rail links will be built, including links between Mexico City and the nearby cities of Toluca and Queretaro.

Another line will cross the Yucatan Peninsula. Though details have not been released, it is expected to link the Caribbean coast resort of Cancun with the colonial city of Merida, Yucatan.

“Nobody can doubt that better infrastructure translates into more competitiveness and productivity, which will ignite economic growth and social well-being,” Pena Nieto said.

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