Mexico City cancels $13 billion airport after handful vote in referendum

The main airport for Mexico City is struggling, designed for 32 million passengers a year, it heaves under the pressure of 47 million.

The government commissioned a new airport in 2014 a the largest infrastructure project in Mexico in over 100 years, designed to cope for another 40 years and act as the hub for a city that’s key in the North-South America market.

Until a recent election, when a referendum on the airport was promised. And it took place. Just 1.7% of all eligible voters took part and a majority voted to cancel the project.

This is an abuse of democracy on one side and a ludicrous outcome on the other. $5 billion has already been spent building it. Penalties and extraction clauses will cost the Mexican taxpayer another $5 billion.

It will cost another $2 billion to update the existing airport under the alternate plan, and around $1.5 billion to create a second airport, at an old Air Force base outside the city.

All of the disadvantages are being acquired with none of the plus points, there is no saving to be made, travel will be made more difficult, there will be no unified transport infrastructure and it will take another decade to complete everything. That’s if it doesn’t get bogged down in court, and the corruption associated with such projects doesn’t cost yet more.

And the partly built airport? Abandoned.