The Safe and Quality Roads priority project aims to bring the roads of 38 urban agglomerations up to standard. By late 2018, at least 50% of the roads in the target agglomerations must meet specificaiton requirements and by late 2025 that percentage must be at least 85%. This should reduce the number of traffic accident concentration locations in the same proportion. Analytical Center expert Aleksey Safronov told a correspondent from the RIA FAN (Federal News Agency) about the indicators to be used for assessing the quality of roads.
Share of Repaired Roads in Agglomerations is to Increase to 61.3%
"In addition to statistical indicators (the share of roads that meet standard requirements, reduction in the number of traffic accident concentrations), the project will also be assessed on two more criteria: the reduction in the share of overloaded roads and the share of people who notice improvement in the situation on the roads," Mr. Safronov said. "This means that it will be impossible to successfully complete the project without engaging with the public. People can provide feedback on which roads should be fixed first, report improvements or point to problems etc. As of April 9, the project had received 2,374 complaints and appeals from citizens and had processed 1,828."
The project is financed approximately in equal parts by the federal budget and the federal subjects, the expert pointed out. A total of RUB 65 billion per year is to be allocated to it in 2017–2025. In 2017 the federal government allocated RUB 31 billion while the federal subjects provided RUB 33.8 billion. This allowed for 5,066 kilometers of roads to be repaired.
The 2018 Federal Budget Law allocates a similar amount to the project in 2018 but on March 30, 2018 an executive order was signed to allocate a further RUB 186 to the project, Mr. Safronov said. "The regions must allocate RUB 34.2 billion. 4,615 km of roads are to be repaired in 2018. The fact that the total length of roads to be repaired is less than in 2017 should not mislead you, the thing is that in 2017 they were making the simplest kinds of repairs and this year more expensive repairs are to be carried out," he pointed out.
The expert believes it would make sense to regard the share of roads that are up to standard rather than the length of repaired roads as the performance indicator for the project. "If we get fixated on quantity, quality is bound to suffer and the condition of the roads we repair will soon deteriorate. So we believe that the repairs planned for 2018 are fairly reasonable. If we complete them, the share of roads that are up to standard in urban agglomerations will go up to 61.3% (in 2016 it was 42%). Expanding the indicator by a factor of 1.5 in just 2 years is quite an achievement," he believes.
Given the rather large amounts of repairs to be carried out in the first 2 years it's only reasonable to expect that the project will be completed ahead of schedule or the 2025 targets will be revised upwards, Mr. Safronov suggested. "After 2017 a decision was made to simplify the procedure for reallocation money transfers made between different budgets. Now if some region is lagging behind on road works, the project committee can more easily than before transfer the money originally allocated to that region to another one. Thus, the results of the project will not only be smooth roads but increased engagement on the part of regional authorities and the public in the effors to improve their own life," he believes.
Source: Federal News Agency
Photo: from open source