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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Metro Chief Bemoans Federal Budget Cut

MTMoscow will spend 370 billion rubles through 2015 to expand the metro.

Starting next year, the federal government will stop financing construction of the Moscow metro, and it remains unclear when the budget taps could reopen.

“Russia is the only state of the, let’s say, civilized countries that doesn’t participate in the construction of the metro. I’m struggling to say why that is,” said Dmitry Gayev, the Moscow metro’s head, Interfax reported Wednesday. He said the preliminary 2010 budget was the first in many years that did not include funds for metro construction.

Moscow city authorities allotted 30 billion rubles ($1 billion) this year for the metro, and other regions with subways invested a combined 50 billion rubles, while the federal government contributed 4.7 billion rubles ($159 million), including 2 billion for Moscow, Gayev said.

“Expenses for 2010 had to be reduced because of the cutbacks on expenditures. Our plans for road construction were fairly seriously reduced, and the metro suffered as well,” a Transportation Ministry source said. Federal financing for the capital’s metro is one of the sorest points in the plans, he said.

The large-scale development program of the Moscow area’s transportation network from 2010 to 2015 was submitted to the government with a number of disagreements, including over the metro.

The federal budget is set to pay the region for the development of airports, rail and river transportation, and the construction of several roads was mentioned in the notes on the program, but some of Moscow’s network of roads and all of the metro were left without financing.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov has been complaining about the situation since last year.

From 2009 to 2015, city authorities will earmark 370 billion rubles to develop the metro, while the federal budget will give just 20 billion rubles. The mayor called it a laughable figure and said 15 times more was needed.

The financing situation with the metro is currently catastrophic, said Svetlana Vorontsova, the first deputy general director of the Research and Design Institute of Regional Development and Transportation. The funds will need to be found somewhere, she said.

“Remember what it’s like in the metro at rush hour and you won’t have any questions about whether they need to finance the construction of new metro lines to ease the burden on the existing ones,” she said.

The Transportation Ministry official said the question would be discussed in the future but “for now it’s not on the agenda.”