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‘No Reason for Concern’ on 2016 Olympic Schedule: Rio Mayor

Rio de Janeiro is on track in its planning for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city’s mayor said as officials prepared for today’s presentation of two tenders for work at the Deodoro sports complex.

Mayor Eduardo Paes’s comments yesterday came after the heads of several sports federations expressed concern about the pace of Rio’s progress, leading the International Olympic Committee to announce that Executive Director Gilbert Felli and other officials would fly to Rio to oversee and consult with local planners.

Paes said he doesn’t see Felli’s visit as an intervention.

“Their presence is very good, because we are going to show them we have no reason for concern,” Paes said. “We’re left without any time to lose in Deodoro; we can’t have any errors there. The Olympic Park has nothing delayed.”

With construction companies racing to finish some World Cup stadiums in time for the monthlong tournament that begins in mid-June, preparations for the 2016 Olympics have come under greater scrutiny, both abroad and at home.

That focus is magnified in Brazil, where a demand for improved public services and an end to wasteful government spending were major themes in street protests last year.

Paes and other authorities said yesterday that the Olympic Games will have a budget of 24.1 billion reais ($10.7 billion) for work related to infrastructure, mobility, urbanization and sports facilities either motivated or accelerated by the games, with 57 percent coming from public funds.

Deodoro Tender

The government today tendered works to ready the Deodoro complex that will host basketball, rugby, slalom canoe, dressage, mountain biking and six other competitions. Construction and reform of the complex’s installations will cost a total 804 million reais and finish in the first half of 2016, according to a statement.

Paes said yesterday its installations are much simpler than those at the Olympic Park -- where more than 2,000 workers went on strike this month seeking higher pay.

In January, Brazilian officials announced 5.6 billion reais will be spent on other projects directly related to the games. The sum of that budget plus the 24.1 billion reais amount presented yesterday already exceeds the 28.9 billion reais budget Rio presented in its 2009 Olympic bid.

The operating budget for the games is another 7 billion reais.

Paes justified the increase, saying it was due in part to average annual inflation since 2009 of almost 6 percent.

“The bigger the legacy budget is, the more things will be carried out, and the better it is for the city,” Paes said. “We have a sports commitment for the games, but our focus will always be the legacy for the city.”

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