|From its earliest colonial history, transportation has always been a challenge for Brazil because of its size and topography. In the last 30 years this challenge has finally been met: a systematic approach has been adopted to plan and implement a national system of integrated surface transport - road, rail, and water.
Since the 1970's, the Government has given funding priority to roads and highways, which transport about 85 percent of Brazil's population and goods. Brazilian highways are of modern design. Paved roads link practically all the state capitals. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other major cities have modern metropolitan expressways. The overall total of roads and highways in Brazil is approximately 1.1 million miles (1.5 million km), reflecting an increase of more than 300 percent in the last two decades. The railway network is, in proportion to highways, relatively small. However, some special projects have been implemented, such as the Steel Railway (Ferrovia do Aço) to connect the inland iron ore mining areas to steel mills and port facilities on the south-eastern coast.