August 16, 2012 in Nation/World

Brazil to invest $66 billion to improve roads, railways

Marco Sibaja Associated Press
Infrastructure hurting

Brazil ranks far behind other big nations when it comes to infrastructure. A recent global competitiveness report from the World Economic Forum ranked the country No. 104 out of 142 nations on the issue.

BRASILIA, Brazil – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced a nearly $66 billion investment package on Wednesday to beef up the nation’s ailing road and rail systems, part of efforts to solve serious transportation bottlenecks and spur a sputtering economy.

The investment includes laying 6,200 miles of train tracks and building or widening 4,660 miles of federal highways. Rousseff said the government would soon announce other packages aimed at airports, ports and transportation on waterways.

“We’re starting an initial stage from which Brazil will emerge richer and stronger,” Dilma said at a ceremony announcing the package. “Brazil will finally have an infrastructure that’s compatible with its size.”

Brazil’s growth is slowing, but the nation has yet to feel the brunt of crises that have hit Europe and the U.S. since 2008. With the world’s sixth biggest economy, Brazil has benefited from a rapidly expanded middle class that drives domestic consumption. The government has also set aside $375 billion in foreign reserves, giving it further cushion against economic shocks.

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