Record annual road completion result in Belarus in 2016More information on this topic is presented in the PMR report:
- June 2017
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- Forecasts: 2017-2022
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By 2017, most road projects in Belarus have been implemented within the Roads of Belarus 2006-2015 programme for the development of the country’s road infrastructure. However, annual targets envisaged in the programme would appear to have been overestimated though for the construction and reconstruction of cross-republic roads there has been some success.
On 31 December 2014 the government approved a new long-term road development incentive, replacing the 2006-2015 Roads of Belarus programme with a similar programme for the period 2015-2019. According to the Roads of Belarus 2006-2015 programme, about 800 km of cross-republic roads were to be commissioned after construction and reconstruction across the country between 2006 and 2015. In fact, over this period, 715 km were activated, which is 11% less than the original plan. Another 152 km of cross-republic road segments were commissioned after construction and/or reconstruction throughout the country in 2016, which is a record high result in more than ten years.
With regard to local roads, during 2006-2015 about 4,560 km of local roads were to be put into use after construction and reconstruction, however, it is estimated that less than 1,000 km of local roads were built and reconstructed over this period.
During 2008-2016, most cross-republic road projects were connected to the development of the Minsk Second Ring Road and the M-1 Brest-Minsk-Russian border route. There was also construction and reconstruction of roads linking Minsk with major regional cities and the enlargement of access roads to the borders with Poland and Lithuania. Ring roads in Mahileu, Nyasvizh, Slonim were also repaired, and the reconstruction of a 77 km road segment between Bobruysk and Zhlobin was completed in 2016.
Because of chronic underinvestment, most regional and local roads in Belarus do not meet regulatory compliance requirements. In the wake of a reduction in funding allocations for road projects across the country, road development has substantially contracted in all subgroups: construction and reconstruction, extensive overhaul and current repair.
In recent years, road development across the country has gradually declined. Underinvestment has been primarily responsible for this. In order to tackle the issue, in 2013 the government started to approve bold initiatives with the intention of increasing funding for road projects across the country.
The first important initiative was the creation of sections of toll roads on key routes across the country. The first sections opened in mid-2013, and by April 2017 the total length of these had risen to 1,613 km.
Tolls are mostly applied to vehicles registered outside Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The legislation states that tolls are not applied to light commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes) registered in the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as to motorcycles, mopeds, special purpose vehicles, and those carrying humanitarian cargo registered in Belarus.
Nevertheless, the most significant source of funding for road projects in Belarus was approved by the government at the end of 2013, as part of a system which compels owners of private vehicles to pay registration fees in order to use public roads. The fee for cars varies in accordance with the category of the vehicle. More than 70% of the proceeds from this levy has been allocated for the construction of a second ring road for the city of Minsk, which was completed in two stages: the first segment (46.6 km) was commissioned at the end of 2015 and the second segment (41.4 km) was put into use in December 2016.
The underfunding issue has become a hotly debated topic for the government in the last few years. The deteriorating macroeconomic environment in Belarus in recent years has substantially marred the prospects for budget revenues in the near future, thus obliging the government to find additional sources of funding for the struggling road construction industry. The government decided to re-introduce the road fund in 2015, which totalled BYN 342m (€194m) in 2015 and BYN 394m (€179m) in 2016.
According to the state budget for 2017, about BYN 606m (€288m) is to be allocated from the state budget for road development this year, of which BYN 323m (€154m) is to be provided from registration fees paid by motor vehicle owners in order to use public roads, a levy introduced in 2014, another BYN 154m (€73m) to be collected in the form of fees for the use of toll roads, and the remaining amount from other sources. In contrast:
- in 2013 and 2014 about BYN 2,410bn (€205m) and BYN 3tr (€225m) respectively was allocated from the state budget for the development of the country’s infrastructure
- in 2015 about €247m was allocated, of which €109m consisted of registration fees paid by motor vehicle owners in order to use public roads and €40bn represented fees for the use of toll roads
- in 2016 about €243m was allocated, of which €126m consisted of registration fees paid by motor vehicle owners in order to use public roads, and more than €36m represented fees for the use of toll roads.
More information on this topic is presented in the PMR report:
Construction sector Belarus 2017. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2017-2022