Economy, Domestic Economy

Rail Transport Expansion Planned

Rail Transport Expansion Planned
Rail Transport Expansion Planned

Competition between road and rail transport must proceed further, and the necessary infrastructures must be built in order to facilitate transportation across the country, minister of roads and transportation Abbas Akhoundi said Sunday.

“Commercialization of rail transport must be expanded,” Akhoundi said during the Sixteenth International Conference on Rail Transport. He referred to rail transport as a symbol of industrialization, adding that the government aims to connect all rural areas through a railway network.

According to Akhoundi, rail transport is functioning well in Iranian cities. However, it has not yet been well established in connecting suburban areas to city centers. “It is necessary, therefore, to redesign the general framework of transportation and make changes to the existing network.”

The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways has been called upon to take charge of the rail transport reform plan, Eghtesad News quoted the minister as saying.

Akhoundi added that in order to create better living conditions, organize traffic, and maintain security in metropolitan areas citizens should be able to commute safely and swiftly from suburbs to cities. Nevertheless, most metropolitan areas lack the necessary facilities which can make that possible, he said, adding that it’s only through large investments by the government and the private sector that this problem can be solved.

 Pointing to the fact that the importance of railways will not be realized as long as fuel prices remain low, Akhoundi stated that based on the current year’s budget bill, preliminary agreements have been reached between the ministries of oil and transportation. With the approval of the economic council, new measures can be taken to cut back fuel consumption. The ministry of oil has agreed to inject the funds raised through cuts in consumption into rail transport development projects.

Budget-wise, this year, rail transport has been well-funded. Almost 570 million dollars of the custom administration’s revenues have been allocated to the industry. “Accordingly, special funds will be allocated for the development of the national rail transport system in the next ten years,” Akhoundi stated.