This highway brought to you by Spain

Dan Grech Oct 12, 2007
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This highway brought to you by Spain

Dan Grech Oct 12, 2007
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TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Brazil is South America’s largest economy, and its being threatened by a crumbling infrastructure. This week, the government looked to private business for help. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace’s Dan Grech reports.


Dan Grech: Brazil’s a vast country, larger than the continental U.S. But it has few railroads, and its air system’s a mess. That means commerce must rely on the country’s deteriorating roads.

Riordan Roett is with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies:

Riordan Roett: There are increasingly loud complaints from the private sector that bad transportation adds costs to exports and to moving materials within the country.

Brazil’s government concedes it can’t maintain the highways on its own. So this week, Brazil sold off 1,600 miles of highway to private companies.

Most of the firms are from Spain. They can collect tolls for 25 years. In exchange, they pledged to pour $10 billion into upgrades and repairs.

Roett: It is a breakthrough in that the government finally is willing to accept that they need private investment in public services in Brazil.

The private ownership will not just mean a smoother ride. Tolls will go down 40 percent, starting the middle of next year.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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