By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced a plan to invest R$13.5 billion in 310 different infrastructure projects, such as sewage systems and road paving. The investment will be part of the government’s growth acceleration program (PAC 2) and will benefit 1,198 municipalities across Brazil.
The measure was announced yesterday at a ceremony in the Planalto Palace in Brasília. Later Rousseff addressed the project through her Twitter feed, stressing the importance of introducing sewage systems to communities, adding that while they often are a “hidden measure,” they are “perhaps one of the greatest precautions that can be taken in the area of health, especially regarding infant mortality.”
Out of the R$13.5 billion investment, R$10.5 billion will be allocated to rainwater drainage systems, water supply networks and sewage systems.
“Sewage is not very nice in its appearance. It must be buried in the ground and be well treated and collected. [That’s why] in the last two years and ten months we already invested R$39 billion [in that area],” the President explained.
The rest of the budget will go into paving 7,500km of roads, improving existing roads and introducing bikeways, as well as building 15,000km of sidewalks, installing traffic signs, ramps and crosswalks.
Confúcio Moura, governor of Rondônia, one of Brazil’s poorest states, welcomed the announcement and stated that the investments will allow his state’s sewage treatment coverage to grow from two percent to sixty percent until 2014. “We are delighted by the bold investment program in the poorest states of the country,” Moura said.
The infrastructure investment is part of the pacts promoted by President Dilma Rousseff following the mass demonstrations that gripped Brazil in June and July. Inadequate infrastructure, as well as a lack of investment in health and education were among the protesters’ grievances.
Brazil has been often criticized for its weak infrastructure, which drives production costs up. Most recently, the country struggled with the renovation of its airport network. Poor or inadequate sewage treatment is a recurring problem, especially in Brazil’s underprivileged communities in both urban and rural areas.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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