Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that a referendum will be held on whether or not the government should proceed with Foster + Partners’ proposed $13-billion Mexico City International Airport.
The scheme, already under construction, has been described by the incoming president as a “bottomless pit” and that “the plan is to provide the Mexican people all the relevant information, truthfully and objectively, so that we can all decide together on this important matter of national interest.”
Incoming transport minister Javier Jimenez has said that the referendum would contain a clear choice: continue the project, or cancel it. The planned vote has already attracted criticism from some of Mexico’s most powerful businesspeople, with telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim stating that "canceling the project would amount to canceling the economic growth of the country."
If voters opt to continue the airport’s development, the government may allow for private financing to play a heavier role in construction, with the first phase expected to be opened in 2020.
In the event of the project’s cancellation, the existing Mexico City airport would continue to operate, supported by an old military base to address existing chronic congestion. Cancellation of the project could also cost the country around $5.2 billion in sunk costs.
Designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with FR-EE and Arup, the proposed Mexico City International Airport would initially include three runways, but is designed to expand to up to six runways by 2062, all served by the single terminal building.
One of the world's largest airport terminals at 555,000 square meters, the building will be enclosed by a single, continuous lightweight gridshell, the largest of this type of structure ever built with spans reaching up to 170 meters.
Learn more about the proposed airport from our original coverage here.
News via: Agence France Presse (AFP)