Bulgaria Needs to Focus Efforts on Completing Motorway Ring – Minister
Bulgaria needs to focus efforts on the completion of the motorway ring so that traffic along smaller roads can be alleviated, according to Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova.
Speaking Thursday at a discussion on Bulgaria’s economy, Pavlova insisted that Bulgaria had to take advantage of the unique opportunity provided by the fact that 5 out of 10 Pan-European Corridors crossed its territory.
She made clear that a total of BGN 280 M would be invested in smaller roads under operational program Regions in Growth by 2020, according to a media statement of the Regional Development Ministry, as cited by investor.bg.
Pavlova informed that in the 2007-2013 programming period a total of BGN 500 M had been invested in the rehabilitation and construction of lower-class roads.
She drew attention to the fact that Bulgaria’s republican road network spanned 20 000 kilometers, including 11 000 kilometers of third-class roads, which were in need of investments.
Pavlova explained that there were three opportunities for investments in road infrastructure, including public-private partnership, which was not a widely applied approach in Bulgaria yet, the European investment initiative – the so called “Juncker plan”, and the National Road Infrastructure Fund.
Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister said that the authorities were aware that this was the last programming period during which the EU allocated funding to the construction of road infrastructure.
She said that statistics of the Regional Development Ministry showed that 195 kilometers of motorways had been launched so far, with an additional 140 kilometers to be unveiled by end-2015, and 80 kilometers of motorways and 1600 kilometers of roads, including first-class, second-class, and third-class roads, were being repaired.
Pavlova added that Bulgaria had submitted projects worth BGN 3.5 B under the Juncker plan.
Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister noted that the government was working with the World Bank to find the fairest and most suitable road pricing system for the country.
Pavlova said that the option of keeping vignette stickers for cars, but making them electronic, and introducing tolls for vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes was being discussed at the current stage.
Pavlova said that work on reforming the water supply and sewerage sector was underway, adding that 51 regional plans had been prepared and 16 feasibility studies were to be conducted.
She reminded that EU funding of nearly BGN 1.5 B had already been provided to 39 municipalities in Bulgaria under operational program “Regions in Growth”, adding that the money would go to reform in the sectors of healthcare and education.
Pavlova specified that a total of BGN 160 M under the program had been earmarked for emergency medical services and a sum of BGN 220 M had been allocated to vocational education.
She emphasized that a substantial portion of the resources provided under the operational program would be spent on public-private partnership, with BGN 380 M to go to the establishment of public-private partnership funds.
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