$13Bln in St. Pete Projects Will Be Delayed

St. Petersburg will delay $13 billion of infrastructure projects that have attracted bids from companies including Alstom, Siemens and Basic Element as the credit crisis deters private investors.

The municipal government postponed the selection of the winning bid for a 33 billion ruble ($924 million) tram network by six months to June, and the system may not become operational until 2014, Maxim Sokolov, the head of city's committee on investments and strategic projects, said Tuesday.

Other ventures facing delays include the completion of a $10 billion highway, known as the Western High-Speed Diameter, the 26.4 billion ruble Orlov tunnel for automobiles and a planned 600 million euro ($779 million) upgrade of Pulkovo Airport.

"Credit institutions are shut right now," Yury Molchanov, deputy governor of St. Petersburg, said Tuesday.

Plans for the New Holland cultural and business center, under construction in the historical center of St. Petersburg, may also be modified because of difficulties in attaining credit, Sokolov said.

Certain "tactical changes" may be made to the project, "for example, changing the 'starriness' of the hotel," a source told RIA-Novosti, referring to the hotel's rating.

(Bloomberg, MT)