Brazil’s Presidential Chief of Staff (ministra da Casa Civil), Dilma Rousseff, says that completion of the Brazilian North-South railroad will be one of the government’s main investment targets this year in the area of infrastructure.
She said US$ 59.86 million had been earmarked for the project because it will "integrate the distant interior of the country with the rest of Brazil."
According to Rousseff, the stretch of 215 kilometers between Açailândia in the state of Maranhão and Aguiarnópolis in Tocantins, which links up with the port of Itaqui, will be completed.
Some of the funding, US$ 17.7 million, explained Rousseff, is from the government’s Investment Pilot Project (PPI).
The details for the construction and financing of another stretch of 505 kilometers from Araguaina and Palmas remain to be worked out.
Rousseff said the stretch from Anápolis to Pátio Santa Isabel in the state of Goiás will cost US$ 200 million and begin in 2007.
"Brazil has not invested this much in railroads in 25 years," said the minister, adding that there were firm plans to spend another US$ 213 million on the Transnordestina railroad connecting the ports of Suape in Pernambuco and Pecém in Ceará.
The Transnordestina project, when completed, will cost over US$ 1 billion.