Nov. 17—Nuevo Laredo residents and visitors south of the border from the Gateway City might soon be able to take a direct train to as far as Mexico City.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador released this week his plans for seven different routes that would travel across the country for passenger trains which would use some existing infrastructure.
The plan released by the Mexican president would feature a Nuevo Laredo route heading to Monterrey then San Luis Potosi before ending in Mexico City.
According to the Mexican government, the other routes include:
— Mexico — Veracruz — Coatzacoalcos.
— AIFA — Pachuca.
— Mexico — Querétaro — León — Aguascalientes.
— Manzanillo — Colima — Guadalajara — Irapuato.
— Mexico — Querétaro — Guadalajara — Tepic — Mazatlán — Nogales.
— Aguascalientes — Chihuahua — Ciudad Juárez.
The news of the passenger train travel comes just about a week after Obrador announced that he would like to force established freight train companies to also offer passenger services because Mexican law stipulates that they are obligated to and those should take priority.
"This is not an expropriation, it is in the Constitution and the law," Obrador said at the time of his announcement. "According to the law, passenger trains have priority."
Nuevo Laredo Municipal President Carmen Lilia Canturosas commented on the possible new option for travel on Friday.
"The capital of Mexico and the customs capital of Latin America will be more and better-connected thanks to the vision of our president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who presented the railway project for passengers that includes seven routes (with) one of them from Mexico City to Nuevo Laredo," Canturosas said.
Canturosas also pointed out that the added passenger rail projects would bring more economic power to the area as tourism would increase and traveling through the area be more accessible and safer.
"Without a doubt, the return of the passenger train will contribute to the good economic moment that our city as we are the border with the greatest economic dynamism in the country," she added.
Laredo Mayor Dr. Victor Trevino said there is a growing movement to introduce rail lines throughout Mexico as an affordable mode of transportation. He said the government of Nuevo Leon, during various discussions, has proposed for the passenger rail lines to extend all the way into Austin and Dallas if possible.
"There has been several discussions with Mexican officials about the possibility of using rail as an alternative, and more affordable forms of passenger transportation," Trevino said. "Even as recent as last week, the governor of Nuevo León and I discussed a proposed train route that could come from Nuevo León and go as far north as Austin and Dallas. These trains will provide more options for tourists to come visit our great city, and reduce insecurity concerns associated with traveling."
One Nuevo Laredo resident, Felipe Zavala, said in wake of the announcement he believes rail passenger lines would be great for adding tourism.
"This is something great not just for Nuevo Laredo but also Laredo, Texas as well, as it means more people coming from the interior of the country to the border and then going to buy things or just for a vacation to the Texas side," Zavala said. "At the same time, people from the U.S. can come and take these trains, which I believe will be much more guarded than buses or other modes of transportation making the tourism increase as well for Mexico and Nuevo Laredo."
Zavala hopes that the project is done within a couple of years as some existing infrastructure is being used. He hopes businesses understand how they can also put stores and other establishments along these routes for greater economic effects.
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