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    Transport ministry to earmark $54bn for Moscow subway development

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    Russia's Transportation Ministry will allocate 1.6 trillion rubles ($54.6bn) for the development of Moscow's subway within the next nine years, a business daily quoted the transport program for the Russian capital and its surrounding region until 2020.

    Russia's Transportation Ministry will allocate 1.6 trillion rubles ($54.6bn) for the development of Moscow's subway within the next nine years, a business daily quoted the transport program for the Russian capital and its surrounding region until 2020.

    The Vedomosti paper said the ministry drafted the program for Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The document in particular says that lack of financing has resulted in the metro construction rates being 3.5 km (2.2 miles) annually, whereas the demand is 8-10 km (5-6.2 miles).

    The program also admits that the capital's transport system is lagging behind the city's requirements by 25-30 years. It sets the ministry's key task for the next two years as "prevention of a transport collapse."

    Sobyanin's predecessor Yury Luzhkov, who held office for 18 years, was fired in September 2010 after an extensive smear campaign against him by the state-run Russian media. Sobyanin has been gradually rejecting many of the former mayor's pet projects and launching new ones since he took office.

    The new projects include building up to 15 km (9.3 miles) of subway lines annually, allocating special lanes for public transport and replacing rolling stock, Vedomosti quoted deputy mayor Nikolai Lyamov as saying.

    In all, the program will cost 6.8 trillion rubles ($232.2bn), out of which half will be spent on construction of roads.

    MOSCOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti)

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