Levitin Seeks $860Bln for Transport

The country may invest as much as 21 trillion rubles ($862 billion) to improve transportation infrastructure over the next seven years to handle increasing domestic traffic and transit shipments from Asia.

The government will spend 10.17 trillion rubles by 2015 if the infrastructure development program is adopted, Transportation Minister Igor Levitin said Friday during a government meeting. The remainder will come from private investment. The government will also consider selling "transport bonds," he said without elaborating.

The country's transportation infrastructure, most of which was build during the Soviet era, crumbled during the 1990s and is increasingly unable to handle growing passenger and cargo traffic as the country enters its 10th consecutive year of economic growth. Russia also wants to benefit from its location between China and Europe to serve as a "transit bridge" and to increase revenue from shipping, Levitin said.