Investment in Roads Urged

ST. PETERSBURG — President Vladimir Putin on Friday expressed hope for a rise in private investment in the development of Russian infrastructure, especially highways and railroads.

Putin was speaking at a ceremony to unveil the northern section of the Western High-Speed Diameter (WHSD), a new toll highway in the northwestern Russian metropolis of St. Petersburg.

"We hope private investors join such projects as the WHSD," said Putin, who had driven a car to the ceremony's venue. "We are now actively investing in the construction of the Central Ring Road [around Moscow], and in Siberian and Far Eastern projects."

"I will remind you that a decision has been made to allocate 450 billion rubles [$13.6 billion] from the National Welfare Fund to important infrastructural projects, plus we will increase private investment," the president said.