In an effort to jumpstart preparations for hosting the 2014 World Cup, the government of Brazil yesterday announced a series of tough new rules for companies involved in civil aviation infrastructure projects. According to the executive secretary of the Department of Civil Aviation, Cleverson Aroeira, firms that do not meet their contractual deadlines for expanding airports, such as São Paulo’s Guarulhos and Viracopos airports, and Brasilia’s Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek aiport could face fines totaling up to $87 million.
Earlier this year, Brazil announced its intention to collaborate with the private sector to help modernize airports in time for 2014. But the state-owned airport company, Infraero, which currently runs most major airports, still intends to weigh in on strategic issues. Ifraero has faced growing pressure to meet construction deadlines.
Reports earlier this year that Brazil’s World Cup preparations are severely behind schedule led the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA)—soccer’s global governing body—to formally inquire about the status of all major infrastructure projects. The Brazilian government has over the past year repeatedly offered assurances that all necessary projects would be ready on time.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva today announced a $550 billion long-term infrastructure investment plan called the PAC II, which is the second installment of the government’s accelerated growth program. When combined with the $504 billion in budget allocations outlined by PAC I in 2007, Brazil’s targeted infrastructural investments should eventually total more than $1 trillion over a 10-year period.
The timing of today’s announcement was likely intended to coincide with the resignation of Dilma Rousseff—chief minister to President Lula da Silva and his chosen successor to the presidency—so that she can begin preparations to kick off her presidential campaign in July. Ms. Rousseff is expected to tout the PAC II investments as evidence that Lula's center-left government is rapidly improving Brazil’s dilapidated infrastructure and promoting robust economic growth.
The most probable centrist opposition candidate in Brazil’s October presidential elections, former health minister José Serra, who has been leading in local opinion polls, dismisses the program as government propaganda and points to widespread delays during the first phase of the program as evidence of its shortcomings.