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Dombrovskis: Latvia is a country with great funding needs and low possibilities

Vyacheslav Dombrovskis/flickr.com/Saeima.
«We are a country with great funding needs – area, roads, state infrastructure – and low funding possibilities – small population and low GDP per capita,» – said economist Vyacheslav Dombrovskis during an annual road industry conference on Thursday, 7 April.

For example, Latvia’s territory and total length of state roads is similar to Lithuania. They, however, have better funding capabilities. This is because Lithuania has 45% more residents than Latvia. Estonia has 20% fewer state roads and a 35% smaller population. Nevertheless, their GDP per capita is 29% larger compared to Latvia. Ireland has a territory of similar size, but four times fewer roads and two times more residents who are at least four times more productive.

Because of this, other state infrastructure suffers problems similar to those experienced by the road sector. This particularly applies to the school network, which is currently too large for Latvia’s population.

He also notes that survey data shows how road transport infrastructure has a positive impact on the economic state of regions that maintain the infrastructure and neighbouring regions.

On Thursday, 7 April, Latvijas Valsts ceļi organized its annual conference. This year’s title is ‘Development begins with roads’. This year’s conference was attended by Transport Minister Uldis Augulis, Chairman of Latvijas Valsts ceļi Janis Lange, head of Latvijas ceļu būvētājs Andris Berzins and economist Vyacheslav Dombrovskis.

Deputy head of the Lithuanian Road Administration Zigmantas Pervaneckas told officials at the conference about the state and developments in Lithuania’s road infrastructure. Chairman of Latvian Cyclists Union Viesturs Silenieks told about roads intended for all road traffic participants and Normunds Krapsis, representative of State Police, and LU Professor in social psychology Ivars Austers told about the safety situation on roads. The conference was also attended by other road experts.

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