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    Moscow mayor's $130 billion transport modernization plan rejected

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    The Russian presidential council for financial market development has rejected an initiative put forward by the Moscow Mayor to spend some 4 trillion rubles ($130 billion) over the next 10 years on modernizing Moscow's transport infrastructure, a Russian business daily said on Tuesday.

    The Russian presidential council for financial market development has rejected an initiative put forward by the Moscow Mayor to spend some 4 trillion rubles ($130 billion) over the next 10 years on modernizing Moscow's transport infrastructure, a Russian business daily said on Tuesday.

    Mayor Yury Luzhkov's initiative was part of a greater plan, first put forward by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, to turn Moscow into an international financial center.

    A government official told Vedemosti that Moscow's success as a financial center depends on the government's ability to solve the city's traffic problems.

    Luzhkov sent a letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, asking him to support a long-term federal transport program for the Moscow region. He asked for funds for the construction of an additional 365 kilometers (227 miles) of railroads and some 100-120 kilometers (62-75 miles) of metro lines, Vedomosti said.

    Luzhkov has calculated that a minimum of 4 trillion rubles are needed over the next 10 years. Currently, Moscow has a budget of 300 million rubles ($9.7 million) for all modernization projects including transport, the mayor said.

    The official told Vedomosti that the city authorities were ready to increase the budget by up to 1 trillion rubles ($32.4 billion) in the next 10 years, but the rest should be covered by the state budget and private investments.

    A Russian Finance Ministry official said such a large allocation was impossible.

    "Moscow can optimize its own spending on road construction and take most of it [the requested money] from ifs own budget," he said.

     

    MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti)

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