$84Bln Targeted at Traffic Jams

MTTraffic making little headway along Teatralny Proyezd on Tuesday morning.
The federal government will invest more than $84 billion over five years to help solve the city's traffic woes, a senior government official said Tuesday.

More than 2 trillion rubles ($84.5 billion) will be earmarked in the federal budget from 2010 to 2015 to help City Hall tackle Moscow's increasingly oppressive traffic, Deputy Transportation Minister Yevgeny Moskvichyov told a City Hall meeting.

The number of cars on city roads has increased more than threefold since 1990, with 3.3 million cars now registered in Moscow, according to a report presented at the meeting by City Hall's transportation department.

Consequently, traffic jams in the city are only getting worse, the report said.

"Relieving Moscow [traffic] is a very important task," Mayor Yury Luzhkov told the meeting.

The report included various proposed measures to improve the situation, including the construction of more roads, metro lines and railway tracks.

More roads are to be built outside the city to ease congestion on the Moscow Ring Road, and elevated roads are to be built within the city limits, Luzhkov said.

New metro lines will extend beyond the city limits to connect Moscow to suburbs and airports in the Moscow region, the report said. Dedicated lanes for public transport vehicles will be created on roadways, and the vehicles will be made more comfortable, it said.

Luzhkov ordered the City Hall transportation department ministry to hammer out measures encouraging Muscovites to drive smaller cars.

City Hall and the federal government will jointly invest 10.4 billion rubles ($439 million) for city road construction this year, according to a decree signed by Luzhkov in April.

The number of traffic jams in the city will double by the end of the year, according to Smilink, a company that provides clients with traffic updates throughout the city, the business web site Rb.ru reported last month.