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Putin Says Russia on Verge of Infrastructure Breakthrough

Russia is on the verge of making an “infrastructure, transport breakthrough” by modernizing its road system and boosting the capacity of railroads, airports and sea terminals, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

The world’s biggest country by area is seeking to lure as much as 500 billion rubles ($17 billion) of private investments for road-building projects by 2020, Putin said at a transportation conference in the western Siberian city of Novosibirsk today.

Developing nations will need to spend $1 trillion a year on infrastructure such as roads and power and telecommunications networks over the next 20 years to spur economic growth, according to a joint study by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Cambridge University released in September. Russia will require $462 billion, compared with $10.5 trillion in China, $3.8 trillion in India and $527 billion in Brazil, according to the study.

Russia, where 46,000 settlements aren’t connected to motorways, will double the volume of road construction in the next 10 years and modernize all federal roads, Putin said. Builders should use leasing and sell bonds to raise funds for projects, he said.

The airport system must be revamped to extend beyond large cities, Putin said. The government plans to spend 41 billion rubles in 2011 to upgrade airports, after previous outlays of 1 billion rubles a year, he said.

Russian ports will increase annual shipments to 770 million metric tons by 2015 from 526 million tons last year, Putin predicted. The target is almost double the peak freight turnover of 403 million tons reached for the whole of the Soviet Union, according to the premier.

The authorities also plan to spend at least 400 billion rubles to develop the shipbuilding industry to enable the construction of new ice-breakers and other vessels, Putin said.

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