President Volodymyr Zelensky had promised to build or repair 6,500 kilometers of roads as well as 100 schools, 100 kindergartens, 100 stadiums, and 210 hospital emergency departments by the end of 2020.
He called it Big Construction.
But Zelensky didn’t meet the deadline. The initiative was too ambitious for such a short period of time, so Big Construction is still in full swing.
It’s necessary to finish it.
Much of Ukraine’s aging infrastructure was developed in the Soviet Union. Rampant corruption in construction tenders has left roads potholed and crumbling — an issue that Big Construction is trying to tackle by implementing a transparent system of attracting and using funds.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to provide a 450-million-euro loan in December 2020 to the state road agency Ukravtodor to help fix the country’s infrastructure.
Ukraine needs this money, Zelensky said during a press conference in February 2021. Infrastructure “is what we all use today, every day. And this is what will remain after us,” he said.
Roads, bridges & trains
Thanks to public-private partnerships (agreements between the state and private companies), Ukraine’s government plans to repair 4,500 kilometers of state and 2,000 kilometers of local roads in 2021.
The construction of the Kyiv bypass road connecting the country east and west will also begin this year. It may be the longest road in Ukraine with a total length of 150 kilometers upon completion.
The state also plans to build and upgrade 245 bridges, including the one in Kremenchuk, in central Ukraine. Ukraine’s railway system is on the list too.
In May, France and Ukraine signed a record sale agreement totaling 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for the purchase of French goods and services.
French transport company Alstom will supply 130 electric locomotives to Ukraine’s state railway company Ukrzaliznytsia for 880 million euros, boosting both economies.
France is also financing 85% of the modernization of Ukraine’s rolling stock, through a 350-million-euro French Treasury loan and 400 million euros in loan guarantees.
Air travel According to Zelensky, the reconstruction of the international airport in the city of Dnipro has recently begun; the construction of the airport of Zakarpattia, between Uzhhorod and Mukachevo, is planned for 2021.
Ukraine will focus on the development of regional airports, which are in dire need of renovation, in the year to come.
The government also plans to create a national state airline able to operate domestic and international flights, but the idea may have to wait for the end of the global pandemic.
In a bid to preserve the country’s decaying cultural heritage and attract more tourists, the government has allocated $72 million to restore 150 historical monuments within the next three years.
Zelensky announced the launch of the so-called Big Restoration in February within the framework of his Big Construction program to fix infrastructure in the country.
The state is considering different funding sources, including private-public partnerships with private companies to focus on the most attractive assets for tourists.
But so far, there are no companies involved.
This list of monuments and the deadline of the project will probably be extended to preserve Ukraine’s history, Zelensky acknowledged when announcing the project.
“We have many historical monuments — it is simply impossible to restore all this in three, five or 10 years,” he said.
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