Putin pledges $43bln to infrastructure upgrade

Putin pledges $43bln to upgrade aging Russian roads and railroads to help spur economic growth

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin says Russia will channel at least $43 billion toward ambitious infrastructure projects to upgrade aging roads and railways across the vast country.

Russia is struggling to spur economic growth, which is expected to be only 2.4 percent this year, the lowest in more than a decade.

Addressing an international economic forum on Friday, Putin said that at least half of Russia's rainy-day fund, which totals $86 billion, will be used to build a new highway in the region around Moscow, a high-speed rail link between Moscow and Kazan and upgrade the Trans-Siberian Railway. He did not indicate how many years the program would take to complete.

Industry experts have warned about the dangers of corruption in executing major infrastructure projects.

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