Rio de Janeiro's acting governor warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a "big failure" because of budget shortfalls that threaten to compromise security and mobility during the games. In an interview with Rio's O Globo daily, Francisco Dornelles said the state is still awaiting an $860 million payout from the federal government aimed at shoring up state coffers ahead of the Aug. 5-21 event, the AP reports. The funds were allocated last week but have not yet reached the state, and Dornelles warned that without them, police patrols may grind to a halt by the end of the week, for lack of gas money. "How are people going to feel protected in a city without security," Dornelles was quoted as asking. "I'm optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality. We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren't taken, it can be a big failure."
Rio has been particularly hard-hit by the recession besetting Brazil, which saw the economy shrink by around 4% last year and joblessness spike. The state is highly reliant on sinking oil royalties, and prior governments awarded billions in tax exemptions that resulted in near-empty coffers. Another worrying issue for Dornelles is the metro line that was meant to ferry tourists to the main Olympic venue in the far-western Rio area of Barra da Tijuca. Promised for late last year, the metro is still not ready. A nearly $290 million federal loan aimed at finishing the project has also not yet been released. "I've said that without security and without the metro there will be difficulties," Dornelles was quoted as saying. (Read more Rio de Janeiro stories.)