Rogelio Jiménez Pons, Director General of Fonatur, joins the Scientific and Technological Advisory Forum to sign a collaboration agreement in relation to the Mayan Train project. Photo: Facebook / Tren Maya

The president’s rail project on Yucatan Peninsula is already a runaway train.

The cost of the pre-investment studies and master plan, necessary to build the Mayan Train, increased 710 percent in five months, going from 120 million to 972 million pesos, according to the Fonatur, the National Fund for Tourism Promotion.

The new estimates, announced in Milenio on Thursday. compared project files sent to the finance ministry Oct. 29 and a second set of documents delivered April 10.

Cost increases were most associated with environmental feasibility studies, which include the environmental impact statement, the technical evaluation that justifies the land-use change, “payments for environmental compensation” and environmental mitigation.

The revised files account for “environmental compensation for the removal of approximately 750 hectares of forest,” equivalent to little more than the size of Chapultepec Park. The Mexican Forest Fund will receive 48.2 million pesos in restitution.

The master plan alone — roping in technical advice, a conceptual blueprint for new communities and a safety program — soared from 20 million to 120 million pesos, a 500 percent increase.

A legal study regarding bidding rules. rights of way and concessions, rose 400 percent, from 11 to 55 million pesos.

The cost of the Mayan Train’s financial study climbed from 11 to 52 million pesos.

And the social impact study leaped from 15 to 81 million pesos because two analyses were added. Their titles translate roughly as: “Anthropological Impact Projection and Territorial Development Policy Proposal” and “Agroalimentary System for Southern Regional Development-south.”

The viability study’s “Evaluation for the Right-of-Way Release” went from 12 to 110 million; a “Market Study” which increased from 11 to 40 million; the “Demand Study,” initially estimated to cost 11 million is now priced at 40 million pesos. The “Cost-Benefit Analysis,” originally budgeted at 8 million, now carries a 35-million-peso price tag. And the “Archaeological Rescue Study” was 7 million, but now is set for 95 million pesos.

Three studies were added: “Mobility,” with a cost of 90 million pesos; a 30-million-peso “Social Awareness” campaign which includes a Mayan Train documentary and an information caravan; and a “Soil Study,” which for 40 million pesos will pay for lab tests throughout the region.

Source: Milenio