Mexican’s have voted in favor of abandoning the US$13bn New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) project currently under construction at Lake Texcoco to the east of Mexico City.
Designed by British architects Foster + Partners, the project had reached the 30% development phase, including setting the foundations and partially erecting the terminal steelwork.
Voters have instead opted for the development and expansion of Santa Lucia Military Air Base in Zumpango, to the north, which would operate in partnership with the current airport, Benito Juárez International.
The announcement was made last night (Oct 28) by Enrique Calderón Alzati, president of the Arturo Rosenblueth Foundation – a non-profit academic institution charged with organizing and counting the vote.
“Out of 1,067,859 votes, 310,463 were inclined to continue the construction of the airport in Texcoco and 747,000 voted the opposite way, that is, in favor of the beginning of studies and works for the airport in Santa Lucia,” he said.
The referendum was called by the President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador who was elected in July 2018 and is set to assume office on December 1.
López Obrador had openly opposed the Texcoco airport project during his election campaign, saying that it had been tainted by corruption and would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.
However, opposition parties are now questioning the legality of the referendum, saying that it was held without the involvement of the National Electoral Institute (INE). Others have also pointed to the poor turnout of the vote, just one million of Mexico’s 129 million citizens, as well reports of repeat voting and IT issues.
Architectural practice Foster + Partners is yet to comment.