Here's some news I'd like to share with you. Over the past couple of months, the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR) launched around $1 billion worth of infrastructure projects throughout the country.
Most of these projects are funded by low-interest loans and grants from a myriad of sources including the World Bank, the European Union and the Arab Development Fund. They were supposed to have been completed by now, but that $1 billion has just been sitting there, waiting to be spent for god (uhhum, I mean Nasrallah) knows how long.
The reason? Politics.
Apparently, it was revealed to the great and mighty Lahoud that he would do his fellow Lebanese a favor if he refused to sign off on the purchase of land necessary to implement the projects funded by that handsome sum of money. Well, we can all thank you-know-who that the man has apparently changed his mind!
Now, let us not start wondering how much of other peoples' money still floats around the Lebanese political twilight zone just waiting to be spent, or else we might just all collapse from heart attacks!
Anyways, if you would like to know what that $1 billion finances, I am aware of two, I mean three, major projects:
- The first major project is the installation of traffic lights in 250 intersections across Beirut as part of a traffic management plan for the city that will be implemented with the help of a new state-of-the-art building that is currently being constructed somewhere between Beirut and Dora.
- The second major project is actually an accumulation of seventeen smaller projects. The CDR is currently building or upgrading seventeen overpasses and underpasses across Lebanon. Two major examples of these projects are 1) the destruction of the Dora overpass, and its replacement with a concrete structure (the current steel structure was built in the 50's on a "temporary" basis); 2) and the building of either an over or underpass at the Gallerie Sema'an intersection.
- The third, and most important, major project that the $1 billion dollars currently funds is a coordinated and meticulously planned effort by all the contract managers involved in the projects to refurnish their apartments, buy new cars and new LCD television sets for their salons. Of course, this buying spree is all in the national interest, since it helps tens of retailers make that much more money; and in doing so contributes to the expansion of Lebanon's GDP