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Mexican infrastructure projects could face security problems

Keywords: Tags  Mexican infrastructure, roads, security, Steel First

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s government might face several challenges regarding its planned road and railway projects because of a lack of security in some parts of the country, local executives said this week.

The government is expected to soon launch Mexico’s national infrastructure program for 2013 through 2018, which will contain projects for the construction and improvement of roads, railways, bridges, ports and airports, among others.

But security may be an issue, speakers at the 9th Annual Mexican Energy and Infrastructure Finance Forum said June 25 in Mexico City.

"(Some) highway projects become unviable because of insecurity," José Enrique Silos Basurto, infrastructure director at Mexican banking group Invex, told delegates.

"We are not used to living with these factors of uncertainty. ... (C)ompanies are starting to ask how they can solve these problems," he said.

Between 2007 and 2011, around 19,000 kilometers (11,806 miles) of roads were built or modernized in Mexico with investments of 245 billion Mexican pesos ($19 billion), according to figures from ProMéxico, a government agency aimed at promoting international investment and business.

A second speaker highlighted another serious problem in the region.

"Extortion is a very difficult issue in Mexico and requires attention," Abelardo Arroyo Rincón, director at Hermes Infraestructura, said at the forum.

Over the past several years, Mexico has been in the midst of a war against local drug cartels that has cost at least 70,000 lives and resulted in the disappearance of thousands of others.

The country’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office in December, promised to create a new police force to patrol the most dangerous parts of the country.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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