The meeting was attended by Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, presidential aides Igor Levitin and Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Irek Fayzullin, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, Head of the Republic of Buryatia – Chairman of the State Council Commission on Transport Alexei Tsydenov, Head of the Federal Road Agency Roman Novikov, Chairman of the Board of the Russian Highways (Avtodor) State Company Vyacheslav Petushenko, and the leadership of relevant universities – Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU)and Moscow Automobile and Road Construction State Technical University (MADI).
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We are continuing a series of meetings on key areas of economic development. Naturally, a special role in this respect belongs to transport, logistics and infrastructure.
I will remind you that we have already discussed support for the aviation industry and analysed the implementation of port and railway projects, as well as the upgrading of checkpoints in the south of the country, in the Azov and Black Sea basin and the Caspian Sea.
Today, I suggest discussing in detail measures that are needed to strengthen our road network, to increase the scale and quality of road construction.
The importance of this work is obvious. New roads and more convenient logistics create new opportunities for businesses, for strengthening ties between regions and boosting exports. All this together creates a solid foundation for economic growth and the successful resolution of social problems and increases the development rates of the entire country.
In the past few years, Russia has launched and implemented large-scale road construction projects. Federal routes with improved passenger and freight traffic conditions are already operating. I mean such rotes as the Neva, Don, Tavrida, the Central Ring Road and others.
Construction of the M-12 Moscow-Kazan highway is the most ambitious road construction project today. This route is to link up with Kazakhstan, as part of the Europe-West China corridor. Just as we agreed, the road’s eastern section will extend towards Yekaterinburg, Tyumen and Chelyabinsk. Today, I would like to ask you to report on the progress of this work and on subsequent long-term plans. I am talking about access to Siberian regions.
I would also like to note that, apart from building motorways with modern and high-quality surfaces, it is necessary to set up the related infrastructure, to open petrol stations, motels and leisure areas, to install communications towers, and to create areas for motorway service facilities where small businesses can launch operations. In short, drivers must find it really convenient and comfortable to use high-speed routes and other roads.
On the whole, I would like to note that, in the current conditions, we need to expand and expedite infrastructure construction projects. Instead of simply conducting all planned works on time, we must try and implement them ahead of schedule, and we have to open new road sections more quickly.
Apart from ambitious mega-projects, we must focus on regional transport systems and the so-called basic road network. Yesterday evening, we discussed this matter with Mr Khusnullin, ahead of our today’s meeting. People use these roads daily, and, of course, their condition, safety and quality must meet the drivers’ needs. I would like to note that the total volume of works in the regions is in no way inferior to federal highway construction and repair projects, and it even surpasses them.
We have set the national goal of boosting the share of high-quality road networks to at least 85 percent of all roads in major urban areas in 2030. It is important that these works are now proceeding ahead of schedule.
I believe that, considering the current rapid pace of road construction and tasks regarding the well-balanced development of the country’s entire territory, we can and must set an even more ambitious goal. Instead of implementing targeted road improvement projects in major cities and urban areas, we need to organise this work everywhere. In the next five years, we need to bring up to standard at least 85 percent of all main roads nationwide. We have the resources and capabilities to do so.
For this reason, it is essential that efforts to develop logistics corridors, including international routes, go hand in hand with road construction and repairs. As I have already said, last week we had a meeting on southern transport corridors. Moving forward, we will discuss in detail the eastern corridors, including road construction in the Far East.
Today, I suggest we discuss specific proposals put forward by the Government regarding its long-term plans for roads.
Let me note that adopting a long-term approach to setting objectives for this sector and delivering on them can be beneficial in several ways. We all know this very well and have discussed this many times. Still, I would like to once again explain what I mean.
First, contractors receive long-term orders, which enable them to better plan their operations and therefore reduce costs. Anyway, I hope this is the way it happens.
Second, this ensures that our manufacturers have a guaranteed market for their equipment and construction materials, also over the long run. This offers them an opportunity to invest in new production capacity while also expanding and upgrading their product lines and creating new jobs.
Third, stepping up road construction helps promote research and development in Russia on road design, construction management and manufacturing of construction materials.
Russia has its own experience in infrastructure construction. Again, we have everything to work at the highest level in keeping with all the environmental standards and complying with the latest requirements in terms of road quality and durability, as well as road safety.
It is also worth noting that our specialised universities and research institutes must proactively contribute to developing new materials and technological solutions, as well as training professionals for the road construction sector. We need to pay special attention to training blue-collar workers. Many construction projects struggle to recruit the workers they need, which means that we need to further expand training programmes offered by technical schools and vocational education institutions, retraining centres and centres of excellence.
Overall, there are many current tasks to work on right now, and we have a lot of work in front us. I suggest that we discuss all these matters today.
Mr Khusnullin, go ahead please.
Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
Thank you for the substantive discussion on the agenda and for your opinions. I would like to ask my colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office to take account of these proposals in a document on the results of our meeting.
For my part, I will instruct the Government to approve a road construction plan for the next five years, that is, 2023–2027. It should clearly list the facilities to be built, rebuilt or repaired. In addition, it is necessary to compile a list of “reserve” facilities. The situation is changing rapidly and we are seeing new opportunities, including financial ones. If budget and other resources come up, we will be able to start funding and implementing these “reserve” projects that are waiting their turn.
At this point, I would like to address the regional governors separately. We are strictly monitoring the targeted spending of the resources from the Federal Road Fund. In the meantime, regional funding resources are sometimes “switched” to other areas. Please stop this practice and use regional road funds strictly for the intended purpose.
Furthermore, I would like to ask you to pay special attention to providing materials and equipment for our road construction plans. I would like to emphasise again that the bottom line here is to use Russian products that meet the highest quality standards.
In this context, it is important to encourage the developments of domestic research institutions and related universities, grant them broad opportunities for developing and introducing new technology, materials and construction designs, and to remove all administrative and other barriers.
Naturally, projects on creating related industrial capacity must be synchronised with road construction work to prevent delays in delivering supplies and implementing the work schedule on time.
I am confident that in using this approach we will achieve truly comprehensive results. On one hand, we will ensure the development of the transport infrastructure and give an impetus to the economy, regions and the entire country. On the other hand, we will build up Russia’s scientific and technological potential and establish a new production base with modern, well-paid jobs.
I would like to once again thank everyone in this meeting.