Big country – more roads

Big country – more roads

About 1.5 trillion will be allocated from the treasury for the development of the transport system. rubles annually

The development of the transport system is becoming one of the key conditions for the adaptation of the Russian economy to the conditions of sanctions and the reorientation of transport flows. At the same time, it is impossible to consider separately the problem of transport for business, transport for the population, transport for new regions. Almost all solutions in this part are general. This was stated at the last transport forum by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who systematically prioritized the development of the Russian transport complex for the coming years.

Last year, changes in supply chains, transportation and storage costs for the production of goods and services in Russia increased by 24 percent. This has put significant pressure on business costs. For some industries and regions, such an increase in costs significantly worsens financial and economic conditions. Therefore, it is very important to maintain the high rates of development of transport infrastructure achieved by the Russian Government in recent years.

Providing mobility for the country’s population is especially necessary in the context of the personnel shortage faced by the labor market. In this situation, temporary migration of the population may likely intensify, and good transport accessibility gives residents more job opportunities.

In the current situation, it is necessary to focus on several issues.

Firstly, today the emphasis is on the development of federal and regional automobile infrastructure. This is correct, but at the same time it leads to a decrease in the amount of resources allocated to the development of the local road network. And we are talking not only about agglomerations, but also about local roads connecting small and medium-sized cities and rural areas. Traditionally, the problem of connectivity on regional and local roads in border areas between neighboring subjects of the federation remains acute.

Secondly, the level of motorization of the population, as is known, has increased significantly. Outside cities, road transport has virtually no alternative. An increase in fuel prices in 2023 may have a negative impact on the social situation of the population, especially vulnerable groups with low incomes, primarily rural residents.

Thirdly, the development of aviation infrastructure outside the largest cities does not yet provide an opportunity to strengthen ties. Flights via Moscow still dominate the structure of interregional aviation connections. Further development of interregional routes is seen in the continuation of the trend towards the formation of hubs in several regions of the country, primarily with a developed tourism industry.

Finally, the limited availability of foreign holidays (including due to the rising cost of air travel) unexpectedly stimulated the development of domestic tourism. But the improvement of the transport situation in many tourist regions, unfortunately, lags behind the growth rate of tourist flow. This is especially true for the development of roadside infrastructure and services. Limited financial resources do not allow regions and municipalities to cope with these problems on their own. But in conjunction with the federal authorities, the local authorities will be quite capable of solving these most important tasks for everyone.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the Government of the country pays priority attention to increasing transport connectivity within the country and the formation of international transport and logistics corridors. Perhaps some of these decisions should have been made a little earlier, but it is important that they are implemented one way or another. The main thing now is not to slow down and gradually approach those issues that the authorities have not gotten around to in recent years. Moreover, budget money in the amount of the promised 1.5 trillion. One year’s worth of rubles should be sufficient for all announced road transport projects.

Dmitry Zemlyansky, Director of the Research Center for Spatial Analysis and Regional Diagnostics, Institute of Applied Economic Research, RANEPA

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