CityLab: Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy

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I wrote for CityLab about Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador’s ambitious plan to build a passenger train around the Yucatan Peninsula.

Boondoggle or tourism boon? I’ll let you read and make your own verdict.

“On December 16, two weeks after his inauguration, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stood alongside politicians, businesspeople, and representatives of Mayan indigenous communities outside Palenque, Chiapas, in southern Mexico. Smoke rose from traditional copal incense chalices as the president-elect oversaw a Mayan ritual asking Mother Earth for permission to build his signature infrastructure project: El Tren Maya—the Mayan Train.

Running more than 900 miles from the beach resorts of Cancún to the Mayan archeological site at Palenque, the $6.5 billion rail project would link towns, cities, and tourist attractions in five southern states. Planners expect a ridership of 8,000 passengers a day, evenly split between locals and tourists.”

Read the full article here.