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Mexico suspends road projects amid economic crisis


Mexico City: The Mexican government has suspended its road building projects worth 12.64 billion pesos ($980 million) in the wake of the country’s worst recession in decades.

Communications and Transport Secretary Juan Molinar Horcasitas said Friday the decision was taken at a congressional forum.

“The finance department has informed us that 12.64 billion pesos must be slashed from the communications and transport department’s total budget, Molinar told lawmakers Thursday.

“We’ll have to look for a solution to this temporary problem of public finances and find ways to attract more private capital for the development of Mexican infrastructure,” he said.

The budget cuts will mainly affect the rural road projects, he said, adding that 75 percent of the funds earmarked this year for infrastructure have been spent in July.

The 2007-2012 National Infrastructure Plan, launched two years ago, called for investments worth 287 billion pesos (about $22.25 billion) to preserve the country’s existing highway network and build an additional 17,598 km of roads.

The financial crisis in the US, the destination for 80 percent of Mexico’s exports, has plunged the country into its worst recession in decades.

President Felipe Calderon said Thursday in Bogota that the worst of the economic crisis had passed but he acknowledged that the government was still working to alleviate the impact of the recession on public finances.