Taking part in the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Presidential Aides Igor Levitin and Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District Alexander Gutsan, Governor of Leningrad Region Alexander Drozdenko, Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov, Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov, President of Transmashholding Andrei Bokarev and President and Chairman of VTB Bank Andrei Kostin.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
Let us talk today about the development of the transport system in St Petersburg and Leningrad region. True, earlier we built the Ring Road here, and then the North-Western High-Speed Diameter, major interchanges, and that changed the situation dramatically. But I still have something to say. The region is home to more than 7 million people, and transport development is extremely important. It is of the essence for the people living here, for the regional economy and tourism infrastructure. Therefore, we will talk today about what else needs to be done so that the transport situation continues to improve.
A number of significant projects have already been implemented, as I have said, and – I can see that the head of VTB has joined us – VTB Bank has helped significantly to improve the situation at Pulkovo airport, which is now preparing for a second stage of modernisation. As a result, the airport's capacity will exceed 30 million people a year.
The public transport fleet in St Petersburg is also being upgraded, with priority given to environmentally friendly vehicles, electric transport, gas fuel engines, and so on. We certainly need to think more about projects that would further improve the environmental situation in the region, which is quite challenging now.
There is something else I would like to say. We are now tapping into the National Wealth Fund to extend the road from St Petersburg to Moscow, and from Moscow to Yekaterinburg via Kazan, in this way creating a motorway from the Baltic Sea to the Urals. In this regard, we certainly need to think about building a new ring road farther outside the city, a motor bypass around St Petersburg proper, similar to the Central Ring Road that we recently opened in Moscow Region. I think St Petersburg with Leningrad Region are a large enough urban conglomerate, and will certainly need a bypass like this. We also need to discuss plans for the further development of public transport, including those using money from the National Wealth Fund.
We need to step up work in this area; we have recently spoken about this at a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects.
I would like to note once again that all the issues concerning the transport system, the construction and modernisation of roads and interchanges, development of public and railway transport, and other types of transport should be considered comprehensively. I hope we will do just that.
We will now hear reports from the regional heads, and after that I would like the heads of our largest companies, such as Russian Railways and VTB Bank to speak – I would like to hear from you again. I know there are plans to relocate port facilities and use the sites for urban development. I would like you to think about how the aviation component will develop, and we certainly need to consider funding options for all these projects.
(In his subsequent report, the Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov discussed the development of the municipal infrastructure in great detail. He noted the representational responsibilities of the northern capital that annually hosts over 100 federal and international events. He discussed the reconstruction of the St Petersburg railway hub and the relocation of railway traffic from the city’s historical centre, the development of Pulkovo International Airport, which should rank among major European airports by 2025 and should handle up to 30 million passengers annually, as well as the construction of new metro stations. Today, the city metro has 72 stations and carries 750 million passengers annually.
According to the Governor, St Petersburg aims to develop only environmentally friendly transport systems, including electric and gas engine transport. Under an agreement with Gazprom, 2,800 new Russian-made gas engine buses will start operating on local routes as early as next year. All commercial passenger buses will be converted to gas motor fuel under the first large-scale experiment in Russia.
Mr Beglov also discussed efforts to make Kronstadt more accessible. A historical cultural centre is being established there in collaboration with the Defence Ministry, and work is underway to create the Island of Forts Museum Historical Park as part of a large-scale project. Three historical forts, Kronschlot, Peter I and Alexander I, are being overhauled for the first time.
New public-private partnership projects, including the construction of 18 flyovers spanning railway tracks, are being contemplated. The old-time disproportion between housing construction projects and social facilities is being eliminated. The city has to build 346 social facilities worth an estimated 300 billion rubles by 2026. It is necessary to invest the same sum (300 billion rubles) in order to provide these facilities with utility mains.
The Governor noted that the resources of St Petersburg’s budget alone were insufficient to accomplish specific tasks. The city is expecting assistance from federal authorities, Mr Beglov said. He asked the President to instruct the Russian Government to support the city and to provide the required financial support in order to expand the transport system of St Petersburg and the St Petersburg agglomeration.
In turn, Leningrad Region Governor Alexander Drozdenko discussed proposals to facilitate the comprehensive development of the region’s transport infrastructure during the development of the St Petersburg and Leningrad Region agglomerations. This included eight projects of which four have already been approved by experts, and two are being implemented. He also noted that Igora, a resort area in Leningrad Region, would accommodate the Formula 1 Grand Prix races in 2023. This project will attract at least 50,000 fans daily. The local authorities and Russian Railways have submitted proposals aimed at upgrading a nearby railway platform and organising chartered flights and shuttle services. Car parks and interchanges will also be established. This investment is important in the context of this territory’s active long-term development, rather than just for the Formula 1 project.
Mr Drozdenko also noted joint efforts by the authorities in Leningrad Region and St Petersburg to resolve matters linked with urban development documentation, utility systems, social problems and waste recycling projects. He stressed that, incidentally, the pandemic has revealed that it would be appropriate to jointly use all medical institutions and redistribute the load that the region and the city, unfortunately, have been facing.)