Punta Colonet Project in Jeopardy – RIP

David Simmonds

As we reported last August, the massive port project planned for the little town of Colonet in northern Baja, has some serious obstacles. To build something of that magnitude in a desolate area with few natural resources would require a Panama Canal-type effort, and although I want the best for Mexico, I’m not sure that this would be a solid plan for their future. The Baja peninsula, with the exception of the corridors from San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, and from Tijuana to Ensenada, has been able to remain an environmental wonder – a land that repels man’s incursion grudgingly, with heat and conditions not conducive for mass human populations. You don’t want to get lost in the bad-ass canyons of Baja.

Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that there is one more reason why the port project may never be built – money. The estimated $4.88 billion dollars that it will take to complete it (the real cost is probably twice that) is disappearing faster than your 401k and home equity nest eggs, and the demand by cargo ship traffic is down by about 30% in the current world-wide recession (is anyone using the D word yet?).

My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the new Obama administration will not encourage or help facilitate any major project that would replace and  eliminate jobs in the U.S. With ports in San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco, all with existing transportation infrastructure and corridors in place, the Colonet project seems unnecessary and unwise. Mexico mainland has many fine existing ports to service their country, and other potential locations near their population centers.

It is my hope the Colonet plans are scrapped for good, and that projects that protect the fragile environment while producing jobs for the Baja people are vigorously pursued. And I encourage everyone to drive the 1,000 mile trans peninsular highway from Tijuana to Cabo – a one-of-a-kind adventure you will never forget.