Metro in Curitiba is Coming
Improving Brazil’s infrastructure is often listed as one of the most critical issues hindering Brazil’s progress in the 21st century.
Critics of Brazil – economists, journalists, students protesting in the street – point to the lack of a passenger train system and well-maintained roads, or the long delays at Brazil’s ports to unload the container ships as evidence of the obstacles facing Brazil in its attempt to become a developed country. Meanwhile, the government points to some massive infrastructure projects in 2013-14, thanks to the World Cup and Olympics, such as the expansion of the airports in the host cities.
Brazilians are accustomed to listening to politicians describe the improvements they will make, particularly during an election year like 2014. Unfortunately, many projects jump onto the headlines and get the population excited, only to disappear after the election. For example, for years there has been talk of a high-speed “bullet” train connecting Rio with São Paulo, but no work has yet begun on this project.
In Curitiba, the past three mayors have announced their intentions to build Curitiba’s first underground train system, known as a metro or subway. Until now, there has been little activity on building the subway; however, there may be some progress next month.
In February, according to City Hall, Curitiba will launch a tender or RFP (Request for Proposal) for a 35-year concession to build and operate the city’s first subway, known as the Metrô de Curitiba, budgeted at 4.56 billion reais (U$1.93 billion).
The City opened a consultancy period for the public-private partnership on January 9, giving interested parties 30 days to make comments or suggestions regarding the tender. On January 15, a public hearing was held.
“We intend to sign a contract by the middle of 2014,” the press release quoted the City’s planning and management secretary, Fábio Scatolin, as saying. A consortium led by local infrastructure group Triunfo Participações e Investimentos (TPI) has been contracted to develop studies for the project.
Of the total investment, R$1.8 billion will come directly from the federal budget and R$1.4 billion through a 30-year loan with a five-year grace period and subsidized interest. The remaining R$1.36 billion is expected to come from the private sector.
To be known as the Linha Azul, the subway will cover 17.6 km with 14 stations. Of course, launching the tender doesn’t guarantee the project’s completion. In fact, there are some urban planning experts, like Jaime Lerner, who are skeptical about the subway. Former mayor Lerner believes the billions for the subway would be better invested in other urban mobility projects such as improved bike lanes and expanding the existing bus system. Curitiba’s revolutionary bus system known throughout the world was created while Jaime Lerner was mayor.
[This article was written by Daniel Bland and appeared on the website bnamericas.com. It was edited and expanded by CIE.]