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News Around the Republic of Mexico 

Slim Wins Tender for Second Section of Maya Train Line

May 04, 2020

Although the Mayan Train has been referred to as a 'bullet train,' it will run at a half speed of 130 kilometres per hour (80 mph), slightly slower than comparable high-speed rail systems around the world.
Quintana Roo, Mexico - A consortium of companies controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim has won the competition to build the second section of the Mexican government's ambitious Mayan Train project, Mexico's tourist development agency Fonatur announced with great fanfare last week.

The $18,553,738,339 pesos bid, made by Slim's Operadora Cicsa and FCC, a Spanish contractor controlled by his Inversora Carso investment company, was one of 15 bids for Section 2 of the Maya Train Project, which includes the executive project, the construction of the tracks, the train platform and the materials to carry out the works.

Slim's team put in the fourth cheapest tender for the work, behind two Mexican consortiums and a group led by Spain's Copasa, but, according to the National Tourism Promotion Fund's website, "Regarding technical criteria, this consortium ranked as the best technical offer in the following areas: quality of work, capacity of the bidder, experience and specialty of the bidder, fulfillment of contracts and national materials and labor."

The United Nations Office for Project Services carried out an independent analysis of the proposal review process and expressed its agreement, saying it was in accordance with international standards.

"Both the analysis process carried out by Fonatur and the international organization concluded that the consortium made up of Operadora Cicsa and FCC Construcción was the one that represents the best value for money for the Maya Train project," the statement said.

Section 2 of the Maya Train route will run for about 235 kilometers (146 miles) from the towns of Escárcega and Calkiní in the state of Campeche.

Work is set to begin on May 12, if the Ministry of Health approves the plan, Fonatur announced last week. Four other sections will begin this year and two in 2021.

The Maya Train project, which will connect tourist destinations and population centers on the Yucatán peninsula, is being billed by Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the key to restarting the country's economy after the coronavirus slump, and will also attract investment to Mexico's poorer southern states.

Last month, the contract for the first construction phase was awarded to a consortium led by Portugal's Mota-Engil and China Communications Construction Company.

Operadora Cicsa and FCC have also entered a bid for the third segment of the rail line.

Sources: gob.mxexcelsior.com.mx