Russian Transportation minister outlines plans to develop

RIA Novosti, Russia
Aug 24 2004


SOCHI, August 24 (RIA Novosti) – Transportation Minister Igor Levitin
outlined plans to develop the infrastructure in southern Russia and
told about some of the newly-commissioned large infrastructure
projects as he met with President Vladimir Putin in the Black sea
port of Sochi Tuesday. Mr. Putin is now in Sochi on vacation.

According to Mr. Levitin, his ministry has worked out a concept for
the development of rail, aviation, and motor infrastructures in
Russia’s south, as well as of sea ports. He said that in 2005, as
much as $8 billion in allocations (the U.S. dollar currently buys
29.22 rubles) would be distributed among seven port construction
projects. “Within three years’ time, we will be able to mount all the
bridges that have been under construction for over a decade now,” he

As Mr. Levitin pointed out, 30% of the nation’s passenger traffic
falls on southern provinces, but the infrastructure network here is
not adequately developed throughout. His ministry’s new concept is
aimed at bringing uniformity to the transportation infrastructure of
Russia’s south so that people will have no difficulty getting to
southern resorts from any part of the country, he said.

Speaking of motorways, Mr. Levitin said the network was developed
well enough for freight traffic, but not for passenger traffic. Many
of the routes run through highland areas and may therefore be unsafe
for passengers, hence the need for tunnels.

“We have reoriented funds to the construction of tunnels at [the
Black Sea resorts] of Krasnaya Polyana and Dzhubga, and this will
raise safety,” he told President Putin.

Within one year’s time, the Transportation Ministry will renovate the
sea terminal in Sochi and restore sea travel between Russia, Ukraine,
Armenia, and Georgia, Mr. Levitin said. There is high demand for sea
lines that would link those countries together, he stressed. “We
intend to develop an infrastructure for passengers in ports,” said
the minister.

Mr. Levitin also pointed out that Russian rail transportation was
becoming increasingly efficient. He said that his ministry would be
developing the rail infrastructure in parallel with motorways.