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GORKI, October 31 (Itar-Tass) ——The construction of roads in Russia should be overseen by law enforcement agencies, President Dmitry Medvedev said.
“The development of roads on the national scale should be a long-term project, but it is also important that roads are built at reasonable prices because this is an area where only the lazy do not steal,” Medvedev said at a meeting with United Russia activists and the Public Committee of Supporters on Monday, October 31.
He noted that misappropriation of funds during road construction becomes evident quite quickly.
“All this must be watched by all means by both state supervisory bodies and law enforcement agencies,” the president said.
He recalled the decision to create a federal and regional road funds and expressed hope that they would be able to facilitate road construction in Russia.
“Roads should be not just a paved surface as has always been the case here, but we need specialised infrastructure along the roads,” Medvedev said, referring to communication and health facilities, restaurants, and motels.
He stressed the need to pay special attention to transportation in settlements and big cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg and the like.
“This also applies to traffic jams that irritate everyone, exhausts and road construction,” he said.
Russia is creating federal and regional road funds this year to finance road construction and maintenance.
It will take some time to draft and coordinate new approaches to road construction in Russia.
“But we should use the existing system of budget funding in order to continue critical projects,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier.
He said that road construction budgets were inflated and the term of road operation was beneath criticism.
The road industry is facing a number of serious problems. “First of all, it's insufficient repairs of existing roads, which adversely affects traffic and safety,” Putin said. “Once we save on timely repairs, we then pay two or even three times more to restore a dilapidated road.”
This is true of federal and regional roads alike, he added.
“Second, problems related to the economically justified cost and quality of road construction have not been solved so far. The budgets are obviously inflated, and the term of road operation is beneath criticism. Moreover, I have travelled by new roads myself, but they already need repairs,” Putin said.
“We have no mechanisms that would guarantee stable and predictable funding of road construction even though it is obvious that successful implementation of such costly projects is impossible if the amount of funding can change at any moment,” he said.
The prime minister stressed the need to determine clearer budgetary and private sources of funding for infrastructure development, including both strategic projects and current repairs.
Putin had earlier met with state-owned company “Russian Automobile Roads” CEO Sergei Kostin to discuss the possibility of making contracts with investors for the whole period during which roads and other related infrastructure are operated.
Kostin called for extending the limits set by the governmental programme for 2010-2015. “All long-term contracts that cover preparations and subsequent construction fall within this cycle. This is why it would be desirable to extent the period to 15-20 years,” Kostin said.
Russia will build about 1,900 kilometres of paid and high-speed roads by 2015 at the first stage of the development of a network of roads in the country.