Paes: Rio Delivered More Than Promised for Olympics

(ATR) City Hall says Rio 2016 surpassed expectations and the culture created from the Games will continue.

(ATR) Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes tells Around the Rings "everything [the city] said we would do we did," for the Olympic Games.

Paes delivered a wrap-up of the 2016 Olympics to journalists today. He declared the Games a success and shared a number of figures emphasizing the city’s hosting prowess.

According to Rio City Hall, tourism in the south zone of Rio grew by 70 percent during the Games, Barra and the North Zone of the city had a 30 percent increase and the West Zone underwent a 20 percent increase. Public transit was also a major success of the Games city hall says. Fourteen million people used the metro line 4 and 11.7 million people used Bus-Rapid Transit during the Games.

The three live sites in Rio had four million visitors and a total of 410,000 foreign tourists came to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics. Initial estimates said that Rio would receive more than 500,000 for the Games.

No cases of Zika were reported during the Olympics according to City Hall.

Paes said that the city of Rio delivered more legacy projects than were initially planned for the Olympic Games. A total of 27 projects were delivered and work continues on projects that were not designed for the Games but will leave the city better off.

"The city has more than achieved its goal on social areas," Paes told ATR. "It was never about making Rio a perfect place, solving all the problems, but to become a better city. We have become a much better city than what we have come from before, and we know there is a long way to go. That is how we are working."

The mayor said he does not regret any single political decisions he made during the preparations of the Olympic Games. Paes said that "never in my sweetest dreams," could he believe all that Rio has accomplished because of the Olympic Games.

The state of Rio remains in a precarious economic position as federal money buoyed services for the Olympic period. The impeachment process in Brasilia will finish playing out in the coming weeks. Whether or not Michel Temer’s government will remain in power at the start of the Paralympics will be decided on Aug. 30 or 31.

For Rio the challenge remains to continue the political momentum generated from the Olympics long after the Games have left town. In speeches during the Games, Paes and IOC president Thomas Bach have referenced that Rio’s urban planning was neglected after the city lost the status of being the capital of Brazil. Organizers are quick to point out the sheer number of projects accomplished and they remain confident the political-will generated will continue.

"All the legacy projects were delivered," Paes added to ATR. "I’m sure and certain the people will keep pressuring the state level [on issues such as Guanabara Bay] and will keep doing it in the next few years. Everything [the city] said we would do we did."

Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

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