Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

Sao Paulo’s City Hall Steps Up Road Maintenance

  • Recession made Sao Paulo roads pot-holed obstacle course
  • City money is enough to cover only 3% of tarred roads

The impact of Brazil’s worst recession in history is easily seen, and felt, when driving through Sao Paulo, a mega city that is home to 12 million people.

The city’s roads -- enough to cover Manhattan 16 times over -- were never known for their good state of repair. But empty public coffers have turned many a street and motorway into an obstacle course of pot holes and cracks. Add to that frequently malfunctioning traffic lights, and motorists are not a happy bunch, spending about 3 hours a day commuting.

Feeling the heat, city hall is stepping up maintenance, with Mayor Joao Doria and his team frequently posting pictures on social media of themselves fixing roads. His team has a plan to spend about 500 million reais in repairs after the state of the roads helped dent his approval ratings, which fell to 32 percent in October from 43 percent earlier in the year, Datafolha showed.

Satisfaction with urban transport worsened in all aspects, according to a recent Ibope poll. In a separate poll, conducted by Datafolha, half of respondents called the city’s traffic lights bad or terrible.

The problem is that amount is only enough to refurbish about 3 percent of the roads, according to Finance Secretary Caio Megale. The price tag for the whole city? Somewhere north of 10 billion reais ($3.1 billion), almost 20 percent of Sao Paulo’s entire 2017 budget.

— With assistance by Ney Hayashi Cruz

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