PM Medvedev sees drastic improvement of infrastructure as key economic growth condition

Moscow Roads

GORKI. Jan 20 (Interfax) – The Russian authorities will be unable to attain economic growth rates higher than the world’s average without a drastic improvement in infrastructure, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

“As you know, we are drafting a comprehensive government action plan for the period until 2025. Our primary objective is economic growth rates above the world’s average,” he said at a conference on the development of Russia’s road infrastructures.

“Obviously, this cannot be done unless infrastructure is drastically improved,” the prime minister said.

Road infrastructure contributes 7-8% to Russia’s GDP, Medvedev said.

As to the condition of Russian roads, Medvedev said, “in our country, roads are a traditional subject of criticism, which is often fair, although we have seen some improvement.”

The prime minister said that was mostly true of federal roads. The share of roads, which correspond to norms has increased from 39% in 2010 to 71% in 2017 and is due to reach 85% by 2020, he said.

At the same time, the condition of regional and municipal roads is not equally good, and their repairs are way slower.

“There has been a great deal of criticism of the time and quality of repairs. We should keep this in mind,” Medvedev said.

Summarizing last year’s results, he said that the country built over 300 kilometers of federal roads, repaired more than 8,700 kilometers of roads, and launched a series of major construction projects, primarily, a bridge across the Kerch Strait and the Tavrida highway.

“Given budget difficulties and optimization of expenditures, it is important that we have prevented a plunge in the financing of road infrastructures. The Federal Road Fund amounted to over 614 billion rubles last year. We believe that the regions invested more than 700 billion in 2017, including federal budget funds assigned in inter-budget transfers,” he said.

The decision to assign gasoline excise revenue to regional funds contributed to the scope of funding road construction projects in the regions, the prime minister said.