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Deal To End Toll Booth Protests In Sonora Falls Through

Earlier this week, officials in Mexico announced they had reached an agreement with protesters at a toll booth in the Sonoran capital Hermosillo. But protesters say they aren’t confident leaders will keep their word.

A citizen’s group called Sonora Free Transit Movement has been shutting down toll booths across the state for more than three years now, costing the government tens of millions of dollars in fees.

But this week, Sonoran Gov.-elect Alfonso Durazo announced leaders had reached an agreement with protesters: The toll booth just north of Hermosillo would be eliminated, and a program waving fees for residents in the southern part of the state would be instituted. In exchange, the shutdown would end on Tuesday.

That didn’t happen.

"They make a lot of promises, but they don't keep them," said Antonio, a member of the free transit movement who was waving cars through the Hermosillo toll booth Wednesday. He would only share his first name. "These are the same promises they have made over and over."

He said the group is not willing to leave their posts at the toll booth in Hermosillo, and several others around the state, until government leaders have fully implemented promised changes.

So for now, protests continue and the cars can still pass freely through so-called “liberated” toll booths.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.