Medellin Inaugurates Giant Outdoor Escalator

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Once known as one of the world's most violent cities, Medellin, Colombia, is enjoying the spotlight for a new socially-conscious public transportation system. The giant outdoor escalator was built for residents of one of the city's poorest districts, with the aim of better integrating them into the city and the broader economy.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is moving on up.

Medellin, Colombia was once known as one of the world's most violent cities. It was the center of a major drug cartel, which actually took its name from the city. Now Medellin is enjoying the spotlight for a new socially-conscious public transportation system.

To understand this story you need to know that Medellin is in a valley surrounded by incredibly beautiful green mountains, which have also become the location of many neighborhoods on the steep mountainsides.

And yesterday, Medellin's mayor inaugurated a giant outdoor escalator. It was built for residents of one of the city's poorest districts, with the aim of better integrating them into the city and the broader economy.

The slum is located on one of those hillsides, and its residents have long had to climb hundreds of steps - the equivalent of a 28-story building - to get home from work. Now they can stand and be transported on their new 1,200-foot moving walkway that turns a 35-minute haul into a six-minute commute. The project cost about $7 million.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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