The Costa Rican government invested more than ¢360 billion (about $638 million) on infrastructure and transportation projects in 2009, Public Works and Transport (MOPT) Minister Marco Vargas said last week during a year-in-review presentation in San José. This represents nearly 10 times the amount spent in 2005.
“I would grade the infrastructure sector for 2009 on the basis of its contribution and assistance to (improving) the economic situation,” Vargas said.
He explained that MOPT’s total expenditure accounted for 2.15 percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Vargas detailed the improvements made to Costa Rican roadways, airports, train system and ports. He said more than 7,200 kilometers of national roadways were paved in 2009, and he highlighted a 42-km stretch of highway between Quepos and Dominical in the central Pacific region that has been in the works for decades. Completion of this part of the 222-km highway, known as the Costanera, is expected during the first three months of 2010. The highway connects Barranca, in the Puntarenas province, to Palmar Norte, near the southern zone’s OsaPeninsula.
Vargas also commented on the long–awaited completion of theCaldera Highway
, which will stretch 77 km from the town of Escazú, southwest of San José, to the Port of Caldera, on the central Pacific coast. This highway is expected to be open by July 2010. MOPT says investment in the ports of Limón and Moín in 2009 totaled $800 million.
However, the minister sidestepped some of the dark spots in MOPT’s recent history, including the controversy over the environmental impact of theCaldera Highway
work and overdue bridge repairs.
Also, a bridge close to the town of Orotina, near the central Pacific coast, collapsed in October, killing five people and prompting the resignation of the former MOPT minister, Karla González.