Inauguracion del Puente El Baluarte El Baluarte bridge, pictured here at its inaugration by ex-president Calderón, is now the world's tallest suspension bridge. (Photo: courtesy of the President's office)
infrastructure), whose US$1.94 billion investment is just one of the many that the Trust Fund directed to highway projects during his six-year term.

The presidency views FONDIN to be “an instrument that has revolutionized spending earmarked for the country’s infrastructure and has allowed for almost a doubling of the money that is invested in the projects that Mexico needs in order to drive its growth and development.”

Meanwhile, Mexico’s federal accounting office (Auditoría Superior de la Federación) notes that there is very little data about the destination of monies in the Trust Fund for two reasons: because the office has not received any accounting reports of public budget resources; and because the data is being withheld by the Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos (Federal Institute for Information Access and Data Protection). According to the accounting office, this lack is just one on a list of thirteen areas of government opacity and risk in public administration.

The highway crosses through the deep canyons of Espinazo del Diablo, famous as being one of the steepest zones of the Sierra Madre Occidental and traversed by a dangerous road known for its many cliffs and curves.

The Guinness Book of World Records accepts that the new Baluarte Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in the world. To make this determination, they measure the maximum vertical distance from the highest point of the bridge (for example the top of the towers) to the lowest visible part of the bridge, where its buttresses emerge from the ground, its foundations or the water.

The president considers the bridge to be a symbol of Mexico’s potential for advancement and adds that the highway “is strategic because it unites the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, the result being that for the first time in history the country’s northern states are interconnected, and this will generate more competition and economic development for Mexico.”

*Co-director, Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness

Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness
Sonora & Sinaloa
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By Talli Nauman*

In spite of not seeing his dream of the enormous Costa Pacifico CIP development realized, ex-president Felipe Calderón took advantage of the last days of his six-year term to deliver large-scale infrastructure projects that will change the landscape of the Northwest for ever.

On a tour of Sonora on November 26th, Calderón launched the operational tests for the Independencia Aqueduct that will literally bring water to the turbines of businesses in Hermosillo. On November 27th, he inaugurated a stretch of the Durango-Mazatlán highway in Sinaloa, where he inspected one of the many tunnels and was the first to make an auto crossing of the Baluarte Bridge, the world’s  highest suspension bridge.

As for the aqueduct, the president maintained that an investment of almost US$310 million in its construction would assure water supply for the city of Hermosillo, without mentioning that the work is currently stalled before the nation’s Supreme court on three issues of noncompliance. One suit was brought by the Yaqui community who have the ancestral rights to the waters of the Río Yaqui, the same water that Gov. Guillermo Padrés promised to pipe to another watershed.  The other two suits were brought by the town of San Ignacio Río Muerto.

Of course he also did not make any reference to the opposition both in Sinaloa and Sonora from the Movimiento Ciudadano por el Agua [Citizens Water Movement], to Padrés’ dream project to divert water from the El Novillo Dam to the Independencia Aqueduct at a rate of almost 630 gallons per second.

Far from taking into account the demands of the people, Calderón instead referred to the infrastructure work one of the many of his term “with a deep sense of social justice.”

Calderón believes both the  Baluarte bridge and the Durango-Sinaloa highway, which is 143 miles long with 61 tunnels, to be a “highly   complex”    success    for     FONDIN    (the    national      fund     for

Aqueduct in Sonora and Highway in Sinaloa,
parting gifts from the President

Acueducto IndependenciaWith heavy machinary, the Independencia Aqueduct construction reached the highway between Hermosillo and Mazatán in August. (Photo: Griselda Franco Piedra)
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