The prices on toll fees in all Mexican highways that are operated by CAPUFE (The Federal Roads Agency) are set to go up by 7.36%. This is based on an announcement that the federal agency made back in February. In fact, many toll roads throughout the country have already begun to see an increase in the fees charged for transit. The Cancun-Merida highway is one of the most expensive roads to transit in the country. A 7.36% increase in the fees would only make things worse.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently mentioned that he is well aware of the fact that CAPUFE approved the rise in toll fees. Which, by the way, is a measure to adjust the fees to the level of inflation seen over the past few years. However, he mentioned that his administration is actively trying to disallow the rise in the fees. With the Cancun-Merida highway being a focal point. Since the road is already one of the most expensive, and it’s also one that is typically key to the tourism sector in the region.
Could The President Just Veto The Increase In Toll Fees?
The rise in the fees was ordered by a federal agency, doesn’t this mean that the president could just veto that decree? Not quite, federal roads in Mexico are typically leased out to private companies for their operations and repairs. These third parties use the money from the toll fees to pay for the necessary repairs on the roads, and obviously to turn a profit on the project.
That’s why president López Obrador mentioned that his administration is currently in talks with ICA, the company who runs the Cancun-Merida highway. He recalled that there was a promise made that toll fees would not go up until the entire pandemic situation had essentially passed. The president mentioned,
“There’s something that everyone should know. We have not authorized the increases in the toll fees. Yes, a decree had been put out there, but this was done at the request of the companies running the roads. We told them, though, that no increases will move forward until after the pandemic has passed”.
The president’s words ring true in some cases. Certainly, the Cancun-Merida highway seems to be one of the important arteries that the president seems keen on protecting from the rise in toll fees. Another influential highway where a rise in toll fees was shot down was the Mexico City-Acapulco route. A 10% increase in toll fees was approved only to be removed a day later.
The President Urged Companies To Lower Toll Fees Because Of The Train Maya Project
The pandemic may not be the only thing that would make a rise in toll fees a bit insensitive. At least from the President’s point of view. He recalled that the Cancun-Merida highway transit is and may continue to be affected by the building of the “Tren Maya”. In certain parts of the road the train tracks are set to run parallel to the federal highway. In the building process this means that as many as two lanes on the highway are needing to be closed to work on the train project. That, according to the president merits a reduction in the toll fee. He mentioned,
“The road is being rebuilt, along with the train, they go together. They are only separated by a couple of tree lines. So there are two lanes, not everywhere, but in some spots that are being blocked. They should consider that when setting the toll fee”
Although the president seems to be willing to fight this increase in toll fees, as we mentioned the increase has already been implemented in certain roads throughout the country. Since the roads are auctioned off to private companies it’s ultimately up to them what they want to do with the fee. There’s typically political pressure involved in this process. That seems to be exactly what the president is exerting.
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