Brazil’s booming economy heralds a bright future for the country. But will its hosting of the 2016 Olympics be just as bright…or will it be an infrastructure nightmare?
According to Time, 2014 Soccer World Cup preparations in Rio de Janeiro are “late and over budget,” with Brazilian officials admitting they “took so long to start work at some sites that temporary structures may have to be used.”
Other infrastructure problems plague preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well. Time reports, “The proposed bullet train between Rio and São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, stalled in the planning stages,” and “…public-works programs across the country are routinely late, over budget and subpar: new metro lines often shut down during rush hours, cracks have appeared in recently built government buildings and highways have developed craters just months after being inaugurated.”
Brazil’s history of government cronyism and kickbacks – a history shared by many governments around the globe – is the problem, says public spending monitor NGO Contas Abertas. “Everything is a pretext for corruption.” alleges its secretary-general, Gil Castello Branco.
But Rio de Janeiro mayor, Eduardo Paes, says that is changing. “We are using London, host of the 2012 Summer Olympics, as our model in terms of timing and planning,” he says “By the end of this year, all the major infrastructure projects will have started. Everything is ahead of schedule for 2016.”