Security personnel in uniform standing guard at a train station platform with a train parked beside the platform and passengers milling around.

Maya Train Project Costs Soar: 2024 Predictions

The Maya Train, a significant project in Mexico, has been a topic of discussion since the release of the book "Mayan Territories in the Train's Path. Predictable Risks and Independent Stances on the Maya Train". The project has seen several changes, including the creation of a company, Maya Train S.A. de C.V, which is managed by the Army. The budget for this project was transferred from the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) to the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena).

In November, a reform to the Federal Rights Law was introduced. Previously, the law stated that the income from immigration services for visitors without permission to work would be divided, with 80% going to Fonatur and the remaining 20% to the National Institute of Migration (INM). The reform determined that all the income would now go to the Maya Train project, with the INM receiving other income from the collection of rights.

This change was significant, as previously 70% of the income would go to the Council for the Promotion of Tourism in Mexico (CPTM), 10% to Fonatur, and the remaining 20% to INM. This led to claims that the Maya Train was consuming the country's promotional expenses.

The investment expense of the program has seen a significant increase from 2020 to 2022, rising from 7,509 million pesos in 2020 to a staggering 179,693 million pesos in 2022. In 2023, the expenditure was split between Fonatur and Sedena, totaling 98,629 million pesos.

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The approved investment for 2024 is 120,000 million pesos. However, considering the current prices, the total cost could reach 471,095 million pesos, equivalent to 23,541 million dollars. This is significantly higher than the originally announced cost of 150,000 million pesos. It's also important to note that it's unlikely the project will conclude this year.

There are concerns that in the haste to complete the project, tasks may be rushed, potentially causing further environmental damage. For the operation of the Maya Train, a new budget program was created, which was allocated 5,937 million pesos in 2024. However, only 110 million pesos have been spent in the first quarter, indicating potential delays and setbacks.

It was initially warned that the investment in the Maya Train project would not yield economic profitability, suggesting it will be a continuous financial burden.