Home Tourist attractions Mexico resumes construction of President’s tourist train

Mexico resumes construction of President’s tourist train


Spanish caver and diver Vicente Fito explores the cave system known as the Garra de Jaguar (Jaguar Claw), near the construction site of Section 5 South of the Mayan Train between the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum – Copyright AFP MIGUEL RIOPA

Mexico has resumed construction of part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s flagship tourist train project, an official said Monday, despite a judge suspending construction of that section on environmental grounds.

A judge indefinitely suspended construction of part of the Mayan Train in the Yucatan Peninsula in late May.

The decision follows a legal challenge brought by opponents, including divers, who are concerned about the train’s effects on wildlife, caves and water-filled sinkholes called cenotes.

But construction resumed on July 13 under a measure implemented in November that branded the government’s major infrastructure works as “national security”.

Under the order, Lopez Obrador intends to protect the train and other projects from lawsuits that have delayed construction, as well as expedite obtaining permits and licenses.

The Mayan train “is a work of national security because of the railways,” said Javier May, director of the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, on Monday.

The Public Safety and Interior Departments are determined to resume construction of the 60-kilometer (37-mile) stretch between the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, May said.

Lopez Obrador hopes to inaugurate the approximately 1,500 kilometer rail loop linking popular Caribbean resorts and archaeological ruins by the end of 2023.

In the May ruling, the federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment

It was found that the authorities had not carried out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section, one of many being built by the army, the NGO said in a statement. .

The government appealed the decision.

On Monday, environmental organizations Greenpeace and Save Me from the Train separately warned that the Mexican government had returned to work without waiting for the appeal process to be completed, which they say violates the law and poses a major risk to the ecosystems of the Riviera Maya.

Lopez Obrador insisted the railroad would not affect the cenotes and alleged environmentalists had been infiltrated by “imposters”.