New metro lines open only during the middle of the day because they are not ready for rush hour, potholes appear in new highways within weeks of opening and even brand new, multimillion dollar buildings are inaugurated only for cracks to appear in the walls days later.
Perhaps the most emblematic project of the "new" Brazil, the proposed bullet train between the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, was supposed to be ready for the 2014 World Cup, or at least the 2016 Olympics. Instead, its budget has ballooned and foreign firms have shied away from getting involved. Not a single meter of track has been laid.
And over the past year, more than 60 manhole covers in Rio have exploded, injuring dozens of people and damaging windows and cars.
Brazil's housing crisis is adding to pressures. The country needs some 15 million houses to meet demand.
Since 2009, when it announced the start of the Minha Casa, Minha Vida, or My House, My Life program, 700,000 new homes have been handed over to the poor. Another 2.3 million are either being built or are on the drawing board. Investment should top $100 billion on new homes, with another $28 billion to be spent on removing and upgrading the notorious favelas that house at least 11 million people.
Under the Minha Casa, Minha Vida program, most of the houses would go to families whose monthly income is less than 1,600 reais, around $900. The rest will go to families earning up to 3,100 reais (approx. $1,750).
The houses are heavily subsidized, with new owners paying 10 percent of their salary over a set period of up to 25 years.
“This is the first time that the government has invested massively in urbanization on such a grand scale,” said Inês Magalhães, Brazil’s Housing secretary. “That is important as the object is to recuperate those spaces lost due to the lack of an effective plan for housing.”