Funding Issues Freeze Progress On An Already Hampered Project
Construction work on the new Tulum International Airport has been temporarily paused due to funding problems. No date has been given on the project’s restart.
In what will be a major blow to the tourist industry in Quintana Roo, the eagerly anticipated airport will now no longer meet its completion date set for the end of 2024. It was already unlikely to achieve this goal, after a seven month delay, but the new halt has solidified this.
The project was being handled by the Mexican military, which revealed in its recent budget report that no funding had been allocated to the airport for 2024, allowing for several other infrastructural works to continue. The airport was part of Mexican President AMLO’s major promises and is likely to have political ramifications for him.
The airport was being designed as a secondary hub to Cancun’s own international airport. While traffic was never going to be as high as its neighboring airport, Tulum’s project could enable a further four million tourists to visit Quintana Roo a year. It was being styled in a similar manner to Mexico City’s new overflow airport.
The only suggestion the project will restart has come in the form of multiple reports stating that stronger financial times will be needed. This could be a matter of months, but based on the funding reports, it could stretch the development across several years, something the tourist industry was not anticipating.
The nearby Maya Train project may be one of the reasons funding was no longer allocated to the airport. Initial cost projections for the tourist train line have proven to be significantly lower than the actual price, and millions more have been sent its way for 2023.
Of course, the Maya Train has faced its own problems. One of the many reasons its funding will have been increased is to account for the regular route replanning that has taken place. Construction along the route has uncovered masses of Mayan archeological sites, which have become protected land, forcing the railway to move.
This is what environmental groups and historians had warned would happen to the history-rich region when they piled enough pressure on the project to halt it entirely by law. The government eventually had to use emergency funding to circumvent the block, and construction has since restarted.
The Maya Train and Airport were originally set to open in tandem. The idea being to herald in a new era of tourism in the region. The airport itself is supposed to have a train station on the route, which will traverse the entirety of the Yucutan peninsula, allowing relatively unknown Mayan sites, cultural areas, and historical towns to come to light for a new wave of tourists.
The airport would be a huge asset for many tourists. Currently, those hoping to visit Tulum must fly into Cancun and then make an hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive to Tulum, either by rental car, bus, or even taxi – a pricey trip if done wrong. The airport would have removed that step for millions of tourists bound for Tulum, and opened up the region to even more.
Other funds are also being directed toward many of Cancun’s road problems. The main road in Cancun, Blvd Colosio, will be moving forward with added funds, and a new road will be built to help ease congestion in the area by spreading vehicles around different zones. Congestion around the Cancun Airport will also be invested in, with the rejuvenation of roads there.
The also delayed Nichupté Vehicle Bridge will also continue. The large bridge will begin work in 2023 and will seek to connect the hotel zone with the rest of the city. It’s a major works program that will likely not be completed for several years.
It seems for now the Maya Train is the main project to look forward to, but with any luck the Tulum Airport will be back in business in the coming years.
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