Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera has hit the panic button because in the Federal Expenditures Budget (PEF) for 2017 the nation’s Treasury and Public Finance Secretariat (SHCP) did not allot money to upkeep of the city’s subway system.
For those unfamiliar with the political division of the Mexico City metropolitan area, it is basically composed of two different states. One is Mexico City which has nine million inhabitants, and the second is the State of Mexico, that boasts around 13 million people in eight municipalities that encircle the megalopolis for a total of about 23 million people living shoulder to shoulder.
“This is truly an aberration, they offer no funding for expanding Line 12, Line A or Line 9,” he said. “But they gave 18 billion pesos ($9 million) for the Mexico City-Toluca train. This is absurd, truly absurd.”
But that’s not all. On the same day President Enrique Peña Nieto assigned a 3,150 federal police contingent to patrol the eight crime-ridden State of Mexico municipalities while leaving Mexico City with the same budget for security.
While announcing Tuesday the entry of the federal police to the State of Mexico Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said:
“Let it be heard loud and clear: the government of the Republic will continue to work with the State of Mexico governor [Eruviel Ávila Villegas] in favor of the State of Mexico residents. There is no truce in the fight against crime as instructed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.”
Surely Mayor Mancera heard it loud and clear but his interpretation is that it is all for the State of Mexico and not for Mexico City.
“All this smells of politicking that will negatively affect Mexico City; they may claim that’s not true but that must be proven with deeds.”
What seems clear to Mancera is that the 2017 election race for governor and the municipalities of the State of Mexico has begun and President Peña Nieto is being accused of serving double dip scoops to his home State of Mexico to position his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for the election, while forking out morsels to Mexico City.
Since 1997 PRI lost control of the Mexico City government and it has since been in the hands of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) which Mancera represents even without being a PRD member.
So the suspicion of electoral favoritism towards the State of Mexico at the cost of Mexico City funds can easily and obviously be read behind the president’s actions. In fact, the president already knows that his PRI can’t win in Mexico City.
But former State of Mexico governor, Peña Nieto will have the capability to hand pick the next candidate to the State of Mexico governorship and the more he does for his beloved home state now, the more power PRI will have in the June 2017 state election.
“The Metro moves at least two million people from the State of Mexico per day,” Mayor Mancera said. “That’s nearly 40 percent of the passengers so not allotting a budget for it is an absurdity.”
The daily commentary called Rayuela (Hopscotch) in La Jornada’s Wednesday comment reads:
“To punish the nation’s capital budget-wise is also punishing its inhabitants. What have we done to deserve this treatment?”
About the only answer to this question may be that both the president and the interior secretary are sending a message to the inhabitants of Mexico City of what the “governor” election will be like in 2018.
“Vote PRI and your luck will change.”
Or at least that’s how most city residents are interpreting the lack of funding for the Metro lines which still depend on federal money.
And for sure, this very conflict marks the parting shot for both the 2018 Mexico City governorship and the presidential elections.