Both the state and the city of Querétaro are growing rapidly in importance. The state has grown faster than any other over the past decade and has attracted significant foreign direct investments, especially in the aeronautical sector, but also other technology firms attracted by the state’s central location, proximity to Mexico City, easy access to other major cities, such as Guadalajara and Monterrey, excellent transport links to the northern border and both coasts, its highly educated workforce and enviable living standards.
The state’s success has not gone unrecognized. For example, Joseph Parilla and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Studies Program in “Finding the ‘New’ Mexico in Querétaro” describe the state as “ground zero for the country’s economic revolution, achieving average annual GDP growth of 5.5% over the last decade, highest among Mexico’s 31 states. It is home to major multinational corporations like GE and Samsung, a burgeoning middle class, new golf courses, and what will soon be Latin America’s second-largest shopping mall, all within a stone’s throw of an immaculately preserved colonial center (a UNESCO World Heritage site).”
This recent PBS video segment looks at how economic reforms have enabled boomtowns such as Querétaro to spur economic growth in Mexico.
Two proposed projects in Querétaro deserve further comment.
The first is the announcement earlier this year that Arkansas State University was joining with private investors in Querétaro to break ground on the first U.S. university residential branch campus in Mexico. The campus is slated to be built in the municipality of Colón, some distance from the state capital. Just how significant this project is remains to be seen.
The second project, which holds much greater significance, is the renewed interest in constructing a high speed rail link capable of moving as many as 20,000 passengers/day connecting Querétaro City with Mexico City. This idea has been around for at least 20 years, but may finally be approaching lift off.
At a later stage, this line could easily be extended into the Bajío Region, to the industrial cities of León and Guanajuato, and also possibly westwards to Guadalajara. Tapatíos (the residents of Guadalajara) have dreamed of a high speed rail link to Mexico City for the past 30 years, following the demise at that time of the convenient and popular overnight train service linking the two cities.
The line’s proposed route is from the Buenavista station in Mexico City to Huehuetoca, and then mainly following the route of highway 57, the main Mexico City-Querétaro highway, to Querétaro.
The project would generate up to 9,000 direct jobs during construction and take about four years to complete at an estimated cost of $3.3 billion.