Argentina
Macri bets on massive infrastructure projects to beat Kirchner in the election
The President of Argentina launched a monumental highway and park project in Buenos Aires. "This is not a story, this is pavement".

The precarious exchange rate stability that President Macri achieved after his friend Donald Trump convinced the IMF to allow them to use the money they loaned to stop the collapse of the peso, stabilized him in the polls. Some recent numbers show that again has a chance to win the second round in the upcoming presidential election against the Fernández-Kirchner ticket.

Supported by this fragile novelty -the real economy in the country is still collapsing-, Macri managed to close a deal with his allies in Radicalism and is now betting on a series of public works, especially in Buenos Aires. He appears to be doing so to stand out against Cristina Kirchner as Vice President, after she surprised everyone by nominating her former Chief of Staff, Alberto Fernández, for the presidency.

This Monday, President Macri led the inauguration of the most important work in the last fifty years in the city of Buenos Aires. The so-called Paseo del Bajo is a mega structure, with a cost of around 700 hundred million dollars, connecting the south and north sides of town. It is an underpass, running along Puerto Madero, which includes a seven kilometer linear park, among other works that integrate the traffic flow in the capital and whose task is to pull out trucks from the avenues and streets.

"This paved road is not a tale, this is real, what I'm touching here is real", the President said, as he crouched to caress the asphalt, next to his successor as Mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, author of the most transforming tenure the city has seen in decades.

Cristina Kirchner withdrew her candidacy to facilitate an agreement within Peronists to defeat Macri

Among other astonishing openings that Macri and Larreta secured before the elections to be held in October, is the extension of a subway line and the elevation of two lines of three inter urban trains. This will allow to eliminate barriers and integrate entire neighborhoods.

The Mitre train, one of the suburban train lines that the City of Buenos Aires decided to elevate above ground.

"This work is just an example, what is happening today is merely an example of all the things that are happening in the rest of the country", Macri said, after arriving to the event on a bus which crossed the new parkway. "A work such as this is more important than a thousand speeches, than a million words, than all the theories we might have, because this is real. This is real progress", he insisted.

"This work was first proposed in 1962, that is, fifty 57 ago. I was not even in kindergarten, Horacio wasn't even born yet", he said, repeating a speech he had already used during the inauguration of the Mitre viaduct, and which seems to be the tone set for the rest of the campaign. "Where did all the money from all the Argentineans go during all these years?", he finally said.

Then, he was even more explicit by remarking the contradictions of Kirchnerism, by reminiscing the case of José López, a former Cristina Kirchner minister who was found filling up bags with millions of dollars inside a convent. "We said: ?Enough with the never ending public works'. ?Enough with the lies, the cheating, the corruption'. We decided to bet on jobs, and to put an end on spilling the resources of the people for them to end in the hands of a few men flying around with bags. We decided to end this, with the mobs and the lies", he said.

Perhaps as a move by his strategists, almost at the same time that Macri was opening Paseo del Bajo, TV newscasts contrasted by covering Cristina Kirchner leaving her Recoleta apartment. She was headed to the Federal Courts for her second day of trials for corruption in public road works.

Paseo del Bajo is a 7.1 km road connecting north and south highways in the city and facilitates the access to the Port of Buenos Aires and the Bus Terminal of Retiro. Construction began in January 2017 with an investment of around 650 million dollars. It was finished in record time, with triple 24 hour shifts.

Nearly 18 thousand trucks per day and over 800 long distance buses, equivalent to thirty thousand daily commuters, will circulate on the parkway. The 7.1 km distance between the AU La Plata and Illia in Retiro terminals used to take forty seven minutes, and now it will only take twelve. There will not be toll booths: all vehicles must use Telepase, automated paying technology.

Tree-lined avenues were created for automobiles. Paseo del Bajo has twelve lanes: four confined for trucks and buses, and eight for lightweight vehicles. The work is set to reduce pollution, and it generated 8,500 direct jobs.

In addition, it also includes Parque del Bajo, which goes from the Kirchner Cultural Center -named after President Néstor Kirchner- to the Ministry of Defense. With this parkway, Buenos Aires has now 35 thousand square meters of green in plain downtown. It is a collateral benefit of the construction of the parkway, which will definitely integrate Puerto Madero and will make a complete change in the city's landscape.

In order to complete the lineal park, La Rábida, the avenue that circles behind the House of Government, was moved a few meters above, and is now straighter, although it still keeps its characteristic curve. Despite its closeness to the presidential palace, Casa Rosada. The area surrounding La Rábida was one of the most complicated in the city.

The brand new Parque del Bajo, behind the Casa Rosada.

It now has a concrete stairway with stainless steel railings and LED lights. The stairway is 50 meters wide and has forty seven steps. It covers the rail tracks and a portion of Paseo del Bajo.

The public work links the axis conformed by the Congress, the Pink House and the Woman's Bridge, erasing the 6.5 meter ramp between Alicia Moreau de Justo and Huergo avenues. 

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