Brazil to invest $3.6 billion in São Paulo infrastructure projects


Commuters inside a subway during the evening hours in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Yasuyoshi Chiba

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced on Wednesday $3.6 billion in federal investments in infrastructure projects in São Paulo.

The biggest share of the federal money, at $1.31 billion, will go to public transportation projects, including adding 99 kilometers (59 miles) of bus corridors in addition to the existing 126 kilometers (78 miles).

The rest will be allocated to housing programs, drainage works and water recuperation.

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"To guarantee fast, safe and quality public transport is one of the axes to combat inequality," Rousseff said at a ceremony also attended by São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad.

"Brazilian cities cannot expect people to spend six hours of their life every day in a bus."

She also noted that $657 million would go toward social housing programs "to improve living conditions" for the people of São Paulo.

A 10-cent increase in bus fares in São Paulo is what set off a month-long wave of protests across Brazil. At the peak of the demonstrations, over one million Brazilians took to the streets to protest high cost of living, a lack of proper public services and corruption in their country's government.

In response to the public outcry, São Paulo and many other major cities across Brazil scrapped their transit fare hikes.

Rousseff, whose popularity plummeted from 71 percent in early June to 45 percent last week, has been under pressure to boost spending, with elections on the horizon.