Mexico eyes $309 bln to improve infrastructure

Mexico eyes $309 bln to improve infrastructure

MEXICO CITY - Agence France-Presse
Mexico eyes $309 bln to improve infrastructure

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said he has his eye on billions of dollars aimed at ‘converting Mexico into a great, global logistical center.’ AFP photo

Mexico's president Monday eyed $309 billion in private and public investments to improve the country's infrastructure during his six-year term by modernizing roads, building passenger trains and boosting the energy sector.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December, said the flow of investments during the 2013-2018 period will depend on the approval of a fiscal reform that will be sent to the congress in September.

“I am convinced that one of the fundamental elements to transform our country is to develop infrastructure throughout the length and width of the national territory,” Pena Nieto said in a speech at the historic National Palace.

The goal is to build new seaports, improve airports and provide universal access to telecommunications.

He said Mexico will build and modernize 19,000 kilometers (11,800 miles) of roads and 371 kilometers (230 miles) of railways as well as to launch three high-speed trains. Pena Nieto has pledged to bring back passenger train service to Mexico.

Global hub hopes

Investments will also be channeled toward the water and power utility companies and the country’s state-run energy giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), but he gave few details amid plans to introduce legislation to attract more private investment to Pemex.

Lamenting the disappointing growth of infrastructure in Latin America’s second biggest economy, Pena Nieto said the program is aimed at “converting Mexico into a great, global logistical center.” The massive public works project aims to better connect regions and remote communities; speed up cargo train transport and revive passenger service; build four seaports; and improve Mexico City’s saturated international airport. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, Mexico ranks 68th out of 144 nations when it comes to infrastructure.