By Anthony Boadle
June 5 (Reuters) - Brazil has come through with only half of the infrastructure improvements it had planned to modernize the country before the start of the World Cup at a cost of 25.8 billion reais ($11.3 billion).
The shining 12 soccer stadiums are ready to field players from 32 nations, even though three are not entirely finished and six will have no wi-fi service. Only a few airports have been upgraded and just a third of the urban transport projects aimed at easing congested city traffic have been delivered.
The signature project was to be Latin America's first bullet train, a $16 billion high-speed rail service linking Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. It never made it off the drawing board.
Following are the main items in Brazil's infrastructure plans that were ready on time, unfinished or abandoned:
Delivered: Rio de Janeiro's legendary Maracanã stadium was refurbished and downsized to 78,640 seats for 1.2 billion reais, or twice the cost budgeted. It will host the World Cup final on July 13.
Brasilia's National Stadium cost 1.6 billion reais to build. The world's most expensive soccer arena looks destined to become a white elephant since Brazil's capital city has no top-tier team. Another 300 million reais are needed for landscaping.
Unfinished: Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians was barely delivered on time for the June 12 opening game. FIFA will not have time to hold a test match at full capacity before kickoff, leaving 22,000 temporary bleachers untested.
Curitiba's Arena da Baixada has given up trying to finish an adjunct building before the World Cup. Instead the media center will be housed in a temporary tent next door. Cuiaba's Arena Pantanal is ready for play but workers are still doing sidewalks and exteriors.
Delivered: Terminal 3 at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport, the country's largest, at a cost of 5.5 billion reais. Completion came too late for Brazil's largest carrier TAM, a unit of Latam Airlines, to move its operations before the World Cup.
Brasilia added two new terminals to the country's third largest airport hub, doubling the number of gates. Regulators have not approved operations at the second terminal yet.
Unfinished: Rio's Galeão international airport saw an upgrade to part of Terminal 1. The other terminal was left for after the World Cup. Fans arriving at Fortaleza's airport will be welcomed in a giant tent rather than a new planned terminal.
Viracopos airport in Campinas, just outside Sao Paulo, was not completed on time for the World Cup and fined by regulators.
Unfinished: Upgrades to port terminals in Salvador, Fortaleza and Natal.
Abandoned: Cruise ship terminal in Rio de Janeiro.
Delivered: Belo Horizonte's central rapid bus system (BRT).
Unfinished: Rio's BRT Transcarioca, linking Galeão airport to the coastal district of Barra de Tijuca at a cost of 1.9 billion reais was opened by President Dilma Rousseff on June 1, but only half of its 45 stations are operational, one connecting to the metro that goes to Maracanã stadium.
Salvador's subway has been under construction for 12 years and was due to be finished by the World Cup. Dubbed the world's shortest metro, it will run on just 6.5 km (4 miles) of track starting next week, delivering ticket holders to the stadium.
Recife's BRT was designed to take fans to the stadium, but only three of its 45 stations delivered. Fortaleza's planned light-rail was hit by financial trouble and disputes over land ownership. Cuiaba's works on 1.4 billion reais light train system (VLT) will not be ready this year. Road improvements are far from done.
Abandoned: Brasilia VLT to link airport to city center. Five new metro stations never got beyond the design stage. BRTs in Manaus, Salvador, Curitiba and Porto Alegre. Monorail in Manaus never got off the drawing board, shut down by a judge due to budget irregularities.
Delivered: Telecom companies came through on their pledge to have 4G cellphone signal available in all 12 cities hosting the games.
Unfinished: Only six of the 12 World Cup stadiums will offer free wi-fi so fans can connect to the Internet from the bleachers. Wi-fi service will not be ready in time at the stadiums in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Recife, Fortaleza, Natal and Belo Horizonte. At Curitiba and Cuiaba stadiums, the telecom industry said there was no time to set up the best possible cell signal. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Kieran Murray)
- Sports & Recreation
- Rio de Janeiro
- Sao Paulo