Why is the General Mobility Law important?

A few days ago the Senate approved the initiative of the General Law of Mobility and Road Safety, so the respective minute will be discussed by the Chamber of Deputies in the next session. The piece of legislation came to fruition, by the way, thanks to the good work of Senator Patricia Mercado and the Safe Mobility Coalition. This is legislation that regulates the reform of the constitutional text that guarantees the right to mobility. The issue is not less in a country that has built cities with infrastructure focused on the car, that have invested little in public transport systems and less in spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Until very recently, the shady transfers from the Federation to the states, through agreements, were mainly used to finance overpasses, bridges, under bridges and everything related to the car.

A mandate was needed for states and municipalities to promote a different, sustainable mobility. This happened at the same time that tenure was dismantled as a federal tax, the same for all entities, which was 100% federalizable. Now in the Constitution and in the General Law priorities are changed. In fact, one of the main contributions of it is that a mobility hierarchy is established, which must be considered for the planning, design and implementation of public policies in which the pedestrian is privileged first, then the cyclist, subsequently users and providers of public transport, then freight and finally motor vehicle drivers.

Legislation is useful because it establishes the principles to which the authority must abide. In the case of a traffic accident, for example, those who drive motorized vehicles have greater responsibility and less, although they do have it relatively, those who use non-motorized vehicles. Governments, at all levels, should develop public spaces and systems that incrementally promote pedestrian and bicycle mobility and facilitate public transportation. That would prevent, for example, some absurd idea from taking shape in a legal way, such as removing a bicycle lane or a public bicycle loan system. Today, guaranteeing the right to the city is a fundamental part of equality and well-being agendas, promoting sustainable public transport and non-motorized mobility are elementary obligations of every government, especially in cities.

The obvious criticism of legislation of this type is the financing mechanisms. However, the mandate is to establish accessible and sustainable mobility systems, so that, in reality, that should become a mandate so that, with the different sources of financing that exist, the resources are destined mainly to sustainable public transport and pedestrian and cyclist mobility, which should have priority over that destined for cars. In fact, ideally, the infrastructure for cars should only be financed by general taxes in an exceptional way and be limited, in the indispensable cases, to other schemes, such as the payment of tenure, charges to congestion, derivatives of parking meters and fees that motorists pay directly.

In this sense, the new Law lays the foundations for new financing schemes. Mexico City, for example, has announced that part of the income derived from mitigation measures for urban developments, and I would also expect that other derived from capital gains will be used in mobility projects. The city announced that 17 million pesos from the Cooperation System for Action in Granadas, adjacent to Polanco, in which resources have been deposited due to mitigation measures for new construction, will be used for the purchase of zero-emission trolleybuses on the route. Chapultepec-El Rosario. That is, the resources provided by the builders will serve to mitigate the main problem of having established a development like the one led by Grupo Carso in that area: the lack of quality public transportation for residents, visitors and workers in the area.

Twitter: @vidallerenas

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Guest column

Graduated in Economics from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), he has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Essex, United Kingdom and a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Management from the University of York.


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