MOSCOW, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued an instruction to the president of the state railway corporation RZD, Vladimir Yakunin, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, and Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich to pay special attention to a plan for creating a railway ring around Moscow’s downtown areas.
“I’d like to ask you to single this plan out of the whole scope of work,” Putin told the officials in the course of a meeting that discussed the prospects for development of railways in Russia.
“We must do this by all means considering the special significance of the project /Moscow’s Smaller Railway Ring/ for the Russian capital,” he said.
Putin admitted the complexity of the project, saying it will have to be coordinated at many levels. “This coordination should concern the financial sources,” he said. “Also, we’ll have to use the administrative resource.”
He indicated that the plan for the project should get the endorsement of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Putin asked Yakunin to specify the cost estimates for the project. The RZD chief answered that the cost of priority works in connection with the expansion, modernization and reconstruction of the existing Railway Ring stands at 58.4 billion rubles /USD 1=RUB 30.5/.
“At this moment, we have 35.3 billion rubles at our disposal and this means the shortage of investment stands at 19.5 billion rubles,” Yakunin said.
Infrastructure works have already begun and the whole project is to be completed in 2015, he said.
“As a result, we hope to ensure transportation of roughly the same number of passengers that is transported by the metro and we also hope this will mean a relief for the city budget, as the city authorities won’t have to build a second Circular Line of the metro,” Yakunin said.
“In addition, transfer stations will be built /at the intersections of the Railway Ring with major railways and all the metro lines – Itar-Tass/ and they will also function as centers of social and business activity,” he said.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the Moscow Railway Ring project is a joint venture of the RZD, the Moscow City and Moscow region governments, and the Transport Ministry. Its main function is to ensure coordinated operations of all the organizations and contractors engaged.
The agencies embraced by the project will take all the decisions in a collective way, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich said he feels certain that the project will draw “really large-scale investments to Moscow” and will help develop all the infrastructures inter-connected with the Railway Ring – stations and terminals and, generally, the facilities located around them.
“It will have a synergetic effect,” he said.