by Associated Press | October 10, 2019
Mexico City (AP) - A Mexican official said Tuesday that a canceled airport project on which at least US$2 billion was spent is useless.

Opponents of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have criticized the cancellation of the partly built airport -- which could have cost as much as US$15 billion when finished -- saying abandonment of the project is a waste. The business and civic groups have sought court injunctions against his alternative plan to expand a military air base farther from Mexico City for civilian use, which López Obrador says would be US$5 billion cheaper than finishing the other project.

A judge agreed with the administration Tuesday, dismissing an appeal that argued the construction of the new airport was an issue of national security. But questions remain about what to do with the canceled project's foundations, which were laid on a boggy former lakebed. López Obrador says that the work already done, mainly just the foundations, is already sinking into the mushy soil and that the airport, if completed, would have required expensive, constant maintenance.

Some have suggested other uses should be found for the massive foundations, but Transportation Secretary Javier Jimenez said the structure is useless and will be preserved only for legal reasons if courts order that. He said it is sinking so badly "it is useless."

"This never should have been built," Jimenez said.

Mexicans Against Waste, a coalition of groups that have filed dozens of appeals against the new project, said Tuesday that the court ruling in favor of the administration was the result of unseemly pressure by the president on the judiciary. It criticized the judge, saying that the new project lacks sufficient environmental and economic studies and that it has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.