Home Headlines Residents of Quintana Roo have high expectations for the Maya Train Project

Residents of Quintana Roo have high expectations for the Maya Train Project

by Yucatan Times
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Manuel Andrew from Quintana Roo has high expectations for the Tren Maya. The 48-year-old works as a porter in a hotel near the future railway station in Cancún. “Communities that had fallen into oblivion will now experience a boost from tourism because the train will stop there,” he says.

Residents will benefit as they will be able to sell their crafts directly to tourists or work in the hotels, according to Andrew. “What else do the opponents of the train propose so that people can move forward? If they come up with another project that creates economic opportunities without harming the rainforest, I would also go along with it,” he says.

Costs for the railway line, which is managed by the military, have tripled to 500 billion pesos ($29 billion) since construction began.

European companies are also involved in the project, with a subsidiary of German national railway operator Deutsche Bahn acting as a consulter, for example.

The Mexican armed forces meanwhile are building six hotels, including one located inside the Calakmul natural reserve which is also home to archaeological ruins as well as some of Mexico’s last remaining jaguars. Communal land has been expropriated or bought up and the property business is booming.

No other country in the world has implemented a railway project of this size in such a short time, says Mexico’s President López Obrador. His critics agree with him on this point but stress that this has come at a cost for the environment: construction was carried out too quickly, with a lot of improvisation, and without the obligatory environmental protection reports, says Aarón Hernández from the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) in Cancún.

When lawsuits against the Tren Maya started piling up, the left-wing nationalist president simply declared the project a matter of national security under the control of the military to prevent it from being stopped. The railway line has also led to divisions within communities, while human rights activists criticize the militarization of the region.

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