Yesterday, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin held a meeting to discuss developing high-speed railways within Russia. Taking special note of the serious investments in resource and systems required for ambitious projects of the sort, Putin also emphasized the necessity of affordability for travelers.
Addressing collegues in the meeting, President Putin covered a lot of ground in presenting the case for high speed rail across Russia. Describing this new infrastructure investment as “key priorities for our economic and social policy”, Putin went in depth in describing the necessity, potential, and hurdles his administration will cross in tackling Russia’s age old infrastructure and transportation problems.
At one point during his opening address, the Russian President brought to bear insight into how the unique geography of Russia inter-plays with the positives of economic growth, developing the regions, creating jobs, and giving people greater mobility overall. Russia, as anyone who studies maps will know, is a vast country which has always suffered from a lack of key, modern transportation links. In this latest Putin initiative, the negatives and critique accompany the up-speak and good news. For one instance, Putin offered this:
“Russia still has only modest achievements as far as moving people and especially freight around the country are concerned. Our level in this area is not much different from what it was in the late 1980s at the end of the Soviet period. We therefore need to undo the bottlenecks and build new railway lines, increase trains’ speed and improve traffic organisation on the existing lines. In other words, we need to develop a genuinely effective railway network.”
The President’s clear understanding of where Russian transportation infrastructures are would seem to play a vital role in planning for and implementing a high speed rail system tailor made for the one country in the world which surely needs such services. It will be interesting to see how Putin’s plans play out in the coming months.