Brazil’s attempt to lift itself onto the world stage by hosting the 2014 World Cup is facing a few challenges…
The rapid build-up of the country’s infrastructure to meet the expected demand has some Brazilians worried about the risk of corruption and a surge in costs.
At a conference in Sao Paolo, the rising cost to expand the nation’s transport system was of particular concern.
Fernando Araldi is an infrastructure analyst at Brazil’s Ministry of Cities.
“I think our biggest challenge will be to implement the projects, because Brazil didn’t have projects of urban mobility and today we are carrying out such projects. So I believe that in the near future we will have these projects done, but that should be our greatest challenge today, to implement these projects.”
The process of getting these and other projects off the ground is under intense scrutiny. There are nearly 100 civil investigations into suspected overspending and abuses of the bidding process.
But Araldi says the government is making sure that all World Cup projects are handed out fairly, despite public worry of abuse.
“No, we are not concerned about this. All projects will undergo the government’s bidding processes. Today we also have a new bill, known as RDC, that was approved and which some cities are likely to adopt. But without the tenders we will not have any projects move ahead.”
Total spending so far for stadium construction, transport projects and airport expansion is already at around $13 billion, according to official estimates. Compare that to the roughly $4 billion it cost South Africa to host the World Cup last year.
And one private estimate says the final bill could top $32 billion, a sky-high price for an emerging economy.
Bottom line: Cost overruns and graft are two large concerns facing the Brazilian government as construction ramps up for the 2014 soccer World Cup.