The confirmation of Lima as the host of the 2019 Pan American Games brings many challenges and opportunities, as the city looks to address what Juan Carlos Zevallos, former president of Ositran, has called a $30,000 million public infrastructure deficit.
While the Peruvian Association for the Promotion of National Infrastructure (AFIN) have indicated that $8,000 million will be required, Mr. Zevallos has argued that this will only cover the countries basic needs and the overwhelming influx of visitors, technical equipment and spectators means that the country must invest between $20,000 million and $30,0000.
“So far nobody has fully analysed the extent of the investment that Lima requires. Considering the serious bottlenecks our streets have, we must conclude that over US$20 billion will be needed” the former president asserted.
Lima currently has already begun work on a number of key infrastructure projects totalling around US$15,000 million, including Lines 2 and 3 of the Metro, Vía Parque Rímac and Vía Expresa Sur
“This investment was one of the deciding factors, alongside the reorganization of urban transportation such as bus routes, which allowed the city to be chosen as the host for the games” Augusto Rey, representative of the Lima city government, explained.
However, the consensus is that these works will not be enough to accommodate the huge number of visitors to the city during the games. When Guadalajara hosted the games over 30,000 spectators attended, and, with the reduced cost of air travel in the region and ease of access to Lima, this number may well be exceeded in 2019. Javier Correa of PriceWaterHouseCooper (PwC) argues that additional works such as the expansion of Faucett Avenue, the main route into the city, will also be necessary.
Juan Carlos Zevallo has echoed this, adding that he feels improvements to the Port of Javier Prado and Aviación avenue will also be key moving forward.
While the development of Line 2 of the metro system will have a big impact, new questions have been raised as to the suitability of the route. Gonzalo Prialé, president of AFIN, says the metro must now facilitate access to the national stadium. “All the stadiums of the world have a subway station nearby”, he argues.
Roberto Urrunaga, professor at the Universidad Pacifico, insists that infrastructure planning for the games must also consider the potential of port access, as was incorporated into planning of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
“The construction of a sports village in La Punta is being proposed. Why not build small piers, which can serve as express martime acess, to transport people from Callao to Chorrillos, for example”, Mr. Urrunaga has suggested.
Finally, Committee President Jose Quiñones has confirmed accommodation will be built in La Punta for athletes and their teams. This accommodation, according to Javier Correa of PwC, can provide much-needed housing following the games.
“In London with the Olympics homes were built for athletes in the most disadvantaged areas of the city. Then these were sold to people with less economic capacity at a reasonable price” Correa explained .
This is a proposal Waldo Carreño, infrastructure specialist, supports, however, he warns that advanced planning is necessary for such a scheme to be successful. “This approach requires that investors are involved during the design of the project, and the state and civil society must also be represented by business specialists and technicians well in advance of construction” he says.
He also claims that this decision must be based upon consensus, first from public sector institutions, including central government as well as local and regional government, to decide who will secure the land and its future use. Then this must be supplemented by private investment, which, given the appropriate preparation, should be forthcoming.
The population of Lima will hope that the award of the Pan American Games will leave a legacy, both in sporting participation and urban infrastructure generation. The forthcoming months will be key in defining national priorities, but what is certain is that drastic improvements and extensive investment will be forthcoming in the years ahead.