Citizens in states through which the Tren Maya will pass have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the project.
Voting in the poll to decide the future of the 900-mile tourist train took place last weekend in five states: Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo.
A whopping 92.3 percent of the population voted in favor of the project, while only 7.4 percent opposed it. According to Adelfo Regino Montes, head of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), participation in the 1,078 indigenous communities affected by the project was 70 percent.
Regino Montes said numerous consultations with indigenous communities and their leaders have taken place recently and there is “general consensus” in support of the Tren Maya.
The route traverses the Yucatan peninsula, connecting Cancun and the Riviera Maya with various tourist attractions (including Palenque) at a cost of around US$8 billion.
Bidding for construction of the project will begin in the first week of January, said Rogelio Jiménez Pons, director of the National Tourism Fund (Fonatur). The idea is for work to start at the end of March or beginning of April, he said.
The construction of a US$7.7 billion oil refinery in the state of Tabasco and the Tren Maya will be Lopez Obrador’s costliest infrastructure projects of his six-year term. Engineers say the new route can be up and running within three years.