Getaways at Easter are common for Brazilians in this heavily Catholic country, but the holiday brought 160 miles of gridlock in Sao Paulo, traffic jams in Salvador, bus delays in Rio de Janeiro, and 11 percent of the country’s flights delayed. These issues have prompted speculation Brazil is not equipped to handle the visit by Pope Francis in June or the World Cup, to be contrasted in several cities, in July.
“For five years I’ve given up on visiting Ubatuba (a beach resort) because of traffic. Maybe with everyone home from work and school (during the World Cup), things will go better,” said Sergio Velasquez, 42, a financial analyst.
A bus trip from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo experienced a 15-hour delay, prompting fights to break out at a bus station.
While millions of Brazilians have risen from poverty to the middle class in the 21st century, infrastructure in the country has not kept pace. Economists point out infrastructure investment has lagged, causing system breakdowns and the hampering of growth.