Presidential Assurances Given for Metro Line 4

(ATR) Organizers say the $250 million needed to finish the metro will arrive soon.

(ATR) Rio de Janeiro State Transport Secretary Carlos Osorio tells Around the Rings he is optimistic that federal government money will be delivered on time to ensure the completion of a new metro line by the Olympics.

According to Osorio the oft-delayed metro line 4 requires two payments of $114.3 million and $128.5 million to ensure that construction is finished by the tentative July 1 limited opening.

The first payment is being worked out by the Federal Government to be included in the 2015 budget, while the second payment will be released as soon as negotiations on the 2016 budget begin in late February. If everything runs smoothly the state government should have the first payment by mid-January.

Osorio tellsATR discussions with President Dilma Rousseff would take place on Dec. 17, during a visit from the head of state to the Olympic City, and that "assurances" had been made from Rousseff’s office to the state government of Rio concerning the payments.

"Of course until we have the money in the bank we are always worried, but we were reassured by the federal government that everything is going to be fine," Osorio said.

"President Dilma will be dealing with this issue with our governor, so we are very optimistic about that. We have not slowed one second of constrictions, and everything is moving on schedule for the first of July deadline."

Eighty-three percent of construction is finished for the metro line, which will connect the South Zone of the city to the edge of the Barra de Tijuca neighborhood which will house the Olympic Park. Currently the only way to reach Barra from the South Zone is by car or long bus rides.

Osorio conceded that if there is a delay in the funds, or the money could not all be transferred to the state government that the metro line would not be delivered before the Games. He believes this will be highly unlikely given the willingness of the federal government and multiple creditors to release the funds.

"Without the funds it is not possible to complete the construction, but we are confident," Osorio added.

"The construction is on time and of course we have to work very close with the contractors until the last stage because there is a very tight schedule since the beginning."

On Dec. 17, the fifteenth and final subway car that will be used during service on line 4 was put on the metro system for testing. It will be used on lines 1 & 2 until line 4 is operational, which Osorio called "symbolic" of the preparations being done to make sure the metro is complete for the Games.

"Rolling stock, construction directions, and systems are completed a symbol that the project, which is the largest and more complex of the Games, is on track, and this is something very important," Osorio said. "The most important thing is the trains are all here and all operating."

For the Olympic Games, transportation organizers are still figuring out how the capacity and schedule of trains is going to work. Osorio says a "task force" between state and municipal officials has been called to determine a schedule for Games time.

Olympic ticketholders will be able to purchase a special Olympic transportation ticket, which will allow consumers to pay a flat free to receive unlimited daily travel. The cost of the ticket, which will be available to purchase multiple days of travel, will be determined after fare changes to buses, metro, and trains are finalized by March. The criteria needed to purchase the flat-rate tickets are still under consideration.

"With this we will offer flexibility to spectators," Osorio said. "It is something new that has never been offered in Rio and we are organizing this with all the transport bodies. In March we will decide how much this package will cost, so for visitors who don’t know Rio this is very good and appealing."

Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

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