Euro 2012 Ignites Infrastructure Improvement In Host Cities Of Poland, Ukraine
Large sports events "have a habit of leaving behind herds of white elephants in the form of expensive but empty or underused stadiums, with governments struggling to recoup their investment," according to Cienski & Olearchyk of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Contrary to typical spending habits, both Poland and Ukraine spent much more on roads than they did on the sporting venues for Euro 2012, "leading some to praise the new infrastructure as a legacy worth having." Capital Economics said, "The economic benefit of Euro 2012 for Poland and Ukraine is more significant than is usually the case with major sporting tournaments." Poland has more than 2,000km of modern highways, compared to just 800km in '07. By '15 the country is expected to have around 3,000km. Poland Euro 2012 governing body PL.2012 CEO Marcin Herra said that without the "spur of Euro 2012, it would have taken years longer for these projects to be completed." Herra said, "These are investments that change the quality of the functioning of a country,” Meanwhile, Ukraine's "disintegrating Soviet-built transport infrastructure has been overhauled in the four cities hosting matches:" Kiev, Lviv, Donetsk and Kharkiv, through upgraded airports and repairs to thousands of kilometres of potholed roads. Ukraine Deputy PM, in charge of Euro 2012 preparations, Borys Kolesnikov said, “As far as infrastructure goes, Ukraine has changed noticeably.” He added that most of the infrastructure upgrades "will pay off in broad economic terms" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/14).