MOSCOW, March 1 (Itar-Tass) – Experts of the World Economic Forum have prepared a global competitiveness report that places Russia 136th on the 144-line list in terms of the quality of motor roads. Huge amounts are allocated in Russia to build and repair motorways. But the quality of Russian roads was rated at mere 2.3 on the seven-point scale, the Komsomolskaya Pravda writes. The highest ratings were awarded to motor roads in France, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore. Among the top ten are Portugal, Oman, Switzerland, Austria, Hong Kong, Finland, and Germany. Among Russia’s “rivals” are Moldova, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine.
“It is no news for us, our roads are really bad,” the Novye Izvestia newspaper cites Mikhail Blinkin, the scientific director of the Research Institute of Transport and Road Facilities. “Taxes from car owners account for only half of the sums needed to maintain the road system. More to it, the available funds are used non-efficiently.” According to the expert however, the real situation is much better than one might think judging from the rating. The rating is based on the ratio between the overall length of motor roads and the country’s area, and much of Russia’s territory is the tundra and other impassable terrains, he noted. “But it will take quite a time to improve the situation,” the expert said. “And if compare the rates of improvements and the dynamics of car sales, there is little hope at all.”
The international rating results are no news for the authorities, either. The poor condition of Russian roads was noted by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, which exposed about 40,000 violations during its last year’s inspection of road builders. Moreover, it recognized some 60 percent of regional and local motorways as inferior to state standards. Apart from that, according to the Russian interior ministry, about 20 percent of traffic accidents can be explained by the poor condition of roads. However, Russian roads are among the world’s most expensive. According to the Higher School of Economics, the cost of one kilometer of a federal-level four to six-lane highway reaches 90 million roubles.