Mexico Paving a Road to Nowhere

| August 13, 2013

0813 Photo Mexico Toll Booth

As the saying goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And repeat it they will if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto follows through with his $100 billion infrastructure program.

A first-class highway expansion is currently under construction through Tepoztlán, which could mean great things for Mexico’s commerce – if it wasn’t privatized.

These public-private partnerships have resulted in the costliest toll roads in the world, according to Quartz. So, this means only the wealthiest residents or tourists will be able to use these roads.

But this problem is nothing new. Private roads have been part of the highway system in Mexico since the 1980s. And guess what? They failed. They were too expensive, and even Jorge Castañeda, former foreign minister and critic of the road-building program, called it “a dumb idea that didn’t work.” The government ended up spending extra money to fix this problem starting in 1997.

So, at least for now, it looks as if the Mexican highways are heading down the road to failure. Locals have started organizing, like they did the last time the government pushed private roads, and are camping out at construction sites to stop progress.

Remind me again: What’s the word that means doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?

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