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Brazil's Rousseff announces billions to improve Sao Paulo transport system

Friday, August 2nd 2013 - 03:26 UTC
Full article 3 comments
“Brazilian cities cannot expect people to spend six hours of their life every day in a bus” said the president “Brazilian cities cannot expect people to spend six hours of their life every day in a bus” said the president

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff moved quickly this week to improve bus services in the metropolis of Sao Paulo, where protests over a fare increase in June triggered an outburst of national discontent that battered her popularity and questioned the country’s infrastructure for two major world events in 2014 and 2016.

Rousseff announced that 3 billion Reais (1.31bn dollars) in federal money will be invested in creating 99 km of new express lanes to speed up bus services in Sao Paulo, the country's financial capital.

“Brazilian cities cannot expect people to spend six hours of their life every day in a bus” she said at an event in Sao Paulo where she also announced more funds to clean up the city's filthy creeks and rivers.

It was a protest over a planned increase in bus fares in Sao Paulo that set off a month-long wave of massive protests against Brazil's high cost of living, poor public services, corruption and the misuse of government money.

More than a million Brazilians took to the streets at the peak of the protests, rocking the country's political establishment and undermining Rousseff's popularity to the point where her chances of re-election next year are now unclear.

Deficient public transport, a major cause of anger for Brazilians who endure long commutes to get to work or study has resulted from decades of neglect and lack of investment that left Brazil with such dilapidated infrastructure that it has become an obstacle to economic growth.

This is evident not only in the cities but in airports, sea terminals, storage capacity and the highways network to transport grains, minerals and other commodities for export. Next year Brazil is hosting the World Cup and in 2016 the Olympics, and FIFA has expressed growing concern precisely about how ready will the country be for those major events.

During the recent visit of the Pope there were major gaffes committed in the organization referred to the pontiff’s security and movements. In effect on his arrival to Rio do Janeiro the driver erred the avenue of the route and the papal caravan got stuck in a traffic jam surrounded by buses, cars and people trying to touch Francis or receive his blessing.

The funds for bus lanes were already earmarked by Rousseff's government in its investment program to speed up the country's sluggish growth.

Since the protests, and with elections emerging on the horizon, Rousseff has been under pressure to boost spending, at a time when she is trying to regain credibility as a fiscally responsible leader.

Sporadic protests and rioting have continued in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to demand the ouster of the governors of those states. Some of the protests even took place during Pope Francis recent week-long visit.

Rousseff made the announcement about the investment alongside Sao Paulo's mayor Fernando Haddad, a rising star in her ruling Workers' Party. She said 55% of Sao Paulo's 11 million inhabitants rely on public transport and Sao Paulo has the smallest metro underground train system in the world for a city of its size.

Rousseff announced additional investments of 3.6 billion to drain and clean up eight filthy creeks and recover the springs that feed two reservoirs that supply drinking water to the city. Garbage, wastewater and unauthorized squatter settlements have compromised the springs in recent years.

The president also pledged to spend 1.5 billion Reais to build low-cost housing to resettle families living on the banks of the creeks and reservoirs.
 

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  • Britworker

    This reminds me a bit of India when they they were still building one week before the games using 7 year olds on construction sites and athletes getting were getting sick and withdrawing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concerns_and_controversies_over_the_2010_Commonwealth_Games

    Better pull your socks up Brazil or these olympics will end up being the biggest south america embarrassment since, well yesterday, or the before. I'm not sure FIFA want to see their refs heads on spikes either at the world cup.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concerns_and_controversies_over_the_2010_Commonwealth_Games

    Truly shocking!

    Aug 02nd, 2013 - 05:29 am 0
  • ChrisR

    “Since the protests, and with elections emerging on the horizon, Rousseff has been under pressure to boost spending, at a time when she is trying to regain credibility as a fiscally responsible leader.”

    Oh dear, welcome to the real world Dilma. It's not her problem of course; the crook Lula must take a lot of the blame for the widespread corruption that has siphoned off a large part of the money while he was president. Are LatAms particularly blind about corruption during ‘the good times, that they forget there may be not so good times coming and the money grafted could go a long way to easing things for everybody not just the one or two of Lula’s cronies and him.

    I really do hope I am wrong, but I think there is going to be an almighty “train wreck” with FIFA and the Olympics, Brazil is shooting too high given the problems they have.

    Aug 02nd, 2013 - 02:28 pm 0
  • macsilvinho

    I will donate Mercopress 80 billion pounds!

    Aug 03rd, 2013 - 04:53 pm 0
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