Mar 07,2007 00:00
The port-rail Colonet complex "will be the most important project that has been constructed in the history of
Momentum on the project is now picking up, he said.
A few weeks ago, Mexican President Felipe Calderon took charge of a group overseeing the port-rail development, Elorduy said.
And federal officials struck an agreement last week with Colonet collective farm groups that own property at the port site, assuring them they will be included in every step of the project.
"The people who have to be involved are being involved in a timely manner," Elorduy said in an interview here Friday.
Jesus Lara, the organizer of a coalition of Colonet farm groups, confirmed that the ejido leaders met in
The ejido farmers were flown to the capital at the state of
"We are happy that finally after two years it looks like things are working," Lara said. "But we are going to keep a very good eye on the agreement."
Officials in the federal and state governments have been widely criticized for failing to divulge information about plans for the project. Recently, a state legislative panel announced it could not condone the development because Elorduy has failed to live up to promises to provide full details.
Plans so far call for the port to be as large as the ports of
The port is expected to handle 8 million 20-foot equivalent units or TEUs - the standard measure of container cargo - a year. The containers, mostly from Asia, would move into the
Both the port and rail line are to be developed and operated by private investors through a bidding process conducted by the federal government. The bidding plans have been stalled by a dispute with a group of investors that hold a concession for exploring for minerals in the ocean bottom where the port is to be located.
In an interview with The Union-Tribune last week,
The state government is developing the master plan for an urban center that could be home to as many as 250,000 residents. It is due to be completed before the federal bidding process begins.
The master plan is similar to a
Elorduy also has begun reaching out to those seeking more information about the project. He met early last week with a group of
Elorduy denied in the interview that he is withholding information from the
"They have had the information that is publicly known," he said.
Because of the project's importance, Elorduy said, it must be handled very carefully.
"The need of keeping it proper institutionally means that not anybody can be speaking about the project," he said.
"Right now we are finalizing the stage in which invited interested parties ... will be able to ask questions and provide valuable information," Elorduy said. "Nothing is written in stone."
He said information has mainly been provided to companies that are interested in bidding on the project. A feasibility study was conducted last year by Hutchison Port Holdings, the operator of the
Hutchison has since bought property at Punta Colonet, and Union Pacific is seeking options on a railroad right-of-way in
Elorduy denied that the companies have an upper hand in the bidding because they did the feasibility study for
"Absolutely untrue," he said. "There is nothing that can sustain such an accusation."
Elorduy said the study, which wasn't made publicly available, is being used as a reference point for discussion on how the project should be structured.
"When the decision is made, because of the previous work, all the information will be available to everybody," he said. "It will be so open that anybody can feel that if they are not satisfied, they have the legal right to make their opinions known."
Elorduy, a former
He said his leaving won't affect the Punta Colonet project.
"It will go on because of its importance," Elorduy said.