Mexico’s High Speed Train is Back on Track

The government revoked the single-bid deal shortly before disclosures that the Mexican president’s wife was acquiring a luxury home from a Mexican company that was part of the winning consortium led by China Railway Construction Corp.

The terms of the tender, which will be open for 180 days, will be similar to the original one, the government said.

A supervisor will oversee the process, the statement added, to ensure “the full transparency and legality of the process from the start of the bidding process.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is under growing pressure to end corruption since a group of trainee teachers was apparently killed after being abducted by crooked police and handed over to a local drug gang on Sept. 26, prompting nationwide protests.

Revelations that his wife was acquiring a home worth nearly $4 million from Grupo Higa, whose subsidiary was part of the consortium that initially won the train contract, have added fuel to the fire.

The first lady said she would sell the house, but Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray’s admission last month that he had also purchased a home from the company has kept the conflict of interest scandal alive.

The Mexican government has said CRCC can take part in the new bidding process and the state-owned company will bid again, after expressing shock over Mexico’s reversal.

The government has said it does not expect Grupo Higa to participate in the second tender.

French engineering group Alstom SA and Canada’s Bombardier Inc have said they would consider taking part in the new tender.

The 210-km (130-mile) line to connect Mexico City and the central city of Querétaro is expected to move 27,000 passengers daily at speeds of up to 300 km per hour (186 mph). (Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler and Eric Walsh)

Puerto Vallarta News

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