Bullet trains for the US? Thanks, AMLO!
According to journalist Anabel Hernández, the impetus for bringing high-speed rail service to North America came from Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose 2012 election platform included developing high-speed railway connections throughout Mexico as a stimulus not just for the tourism industry, but as part of an overall transportation plan that included new highways (and expanding the Mexico City airport, not… as is presently being considered… in the biologically sensitive water-shed chosen by the Peña Nieto administration).
The López Obrador plan called for building a bullet train route from Cancun to Palenque, with stations at Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Merida for the tourist trade, as well as passenger service routs from Mexico City to Nuevo Laredo, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Saltillo and Monterrey.
The Monterrey terminus particularly caught the attention of Texas and Nuevo Leon political and business leaders, leading US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx to push for a connection from Monterrey to San Antonio, with possible later expansion to Los Angeles and Oklahoma. Of course, in the United States, the idea of state development is taboo, and there was concern that if the Mexican federal government were to go ahead and build their own bullet-trains first … they would be the obvious main stakeholder in any US development project.
So… without explicitly saying so… Hernández wonders why it is that the Peña Nieto administration “borrowed” AMLO’s project to announce the private-public development of the least important, and least cost-effective line (Mexico City to Queretaro, which already enjoys excellent surface road connections, as well as freight rail connections) … only to cancel the project when questions were immediately raised about the contracts and give US businesses a head start on a 21st century rail transit system.
Emma Martínez, “Tren bala de AMLO atentaba contra intereses de EE.UU por eso Peña tiró el proyecto: expertos” Revolucion Tres punto cero, 22 January 2015