Maya Train Eduardo Verdugo AP

The government of Mexico wants to build a $6.8 billion, 950-mile train system to make a loop around the Yucatan Peninsula, hoping to draw tourists visiting the Caribbean coast to the interior, where jobs are scarce and Mayan ruins are located. The idea might sound plausible, but new research shows there are thousands of monuments in just the first 25% of the proposed route; some are the remains of flimsy homes, but 91 are large buildings like pyramids, plazas and temple platforms, and the potential for major environmental destruction is alarming to critics. It’s a pet project of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and some tracks are already in place, but Mayan communities are suing to stop it. The vast Mayan culture stretched from the Yucatan through Central America from 2,000 B.C. and A.D. 900, and their descendants still live there. Above: Chichen Itza. (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

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