Mayor Sobyanin’s interview with TV Tsentr

14 October 2014

Question: Mayor Sobyanin, how does the economic situation in Russia and the world affect Moscow’s economy? Are we going to cut expenses and review our development plans?

Sergei Sobyanin: There are many questions now, including the international political situation. Our city’s economy is, on the whole, stable, and I hope that we’ll finish the year on the plus side — both in terms of industrial development and investments and in terms of the budget. We hope that there’ll be no major changes for the worse over the next three years. But of course for that to happen we need to exert ourselves: improve the investment climate, develop the infrastructure, work with investors and attract them to the city. Strictly speaking, that’s the task of any government — to mitigate problems caused by external factors, and put more effort into making the city more attractive for investors.

Question: Let’s look at some specific spending if we may. One of the largest budget expenditures is social support for Muscovites for which huge sums have been allocated. As far as the city’s socio-economic development is concerned, has this plan been revised due to the economic situation? Is there any budget expenditure that you have cut back on?

Sergei Sobyanin: No. Our principled position is that the budget should remain socially oriented. Social investments, or budget expenditures for social needs, total about 970 billion roubles. All of our social commitments to Muscovites will be fulfilled. Development programmes in education, healthcare, culture and sport will be fully funded.

Question: Another large expenditure item in the city budget is the development of the transport system. How is the money allocated for this purpose going to be spent next year and in the following years?

Sergei Sobyanin: Ask any Muscovite what the city’s biggest problems are and you’ll always hear about transport problems, traffic congestion, etc. So, the development of municipal transport, the construction of new metro lines, remains our top priority. This includes, of course, the development of the road infrastructure: construction of traffic interchanges and overpasses and reconstruction of outbound motorways and the MKAD (Moscow Ring Road). We build around 80 kilometres of roads each year, including interchanges, overpasses, etc. It’s a huge programme, and we will continue to move forward, just as we have during the past few years, with the same goals. Allocations for the metro will increase because we are gradually moving from the design stage and preliminary work to large-scale construction.

Question: With regard to surface transport, what changes can we expect in the city in the coming year, or in the next three years?

Sergei Sobyanin: The city transport system calls for changes because the existing rules for buses, for example, are archaic — they were adopted in the early years of perestroika. One problem is that city transport has its own rules while commercial transport has its own. In commercial transport, neither the routes, nor the quality of vehicles, nor ticket prices are properly regulated. Moreover, the routes often overlap. Commercial carriers are mostly concerned about profits and so serve only the profitable routes. They don’t carry subsidised passengers at all.

That’s why there is a standard system, a standard approach all over the world: city purchase order for services, irrespective of whether it’s a commercial, state-run or city transport company. The same thing will be introduced in Moscow: common requirements will be set forth both for municipal transport and commercial carriers in terms of the quality of buses, emissions standards, schedules and routes. Profitable or not profitable — this is a matter for the city, not the carriers.

The city will initiate transport services and pay for them directly from the budget, and the fare paid by the passengers will go to the budget. This will be a standard system that will take into account the interests of both private investors operating in this sphere and, of course the passengers. Not only fare-paying passengers but also city-supported people will be able to use the system.

Question: Well, we’ll be looking forward to these changes in Moscow’s surface transit.

Sergei Sobyanin: This won’t happen all at once, but gradually, route by route. Within a year or a year and a half, the system will be reorganised. And I hope that it will take its final form towards the end of next year.

Sourse: The website of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow

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