Transport infrastructure in Romania is in dire need for fast and far-reaching measures
"Romania wants highways". Under this slogan Romanians were called to protest on
March 15, for 15 minutes at 15:00 against the authorities' lack of initiative
and disinterest in building new highways. The protest was called by a
businessman from Suceava, Stefan Mandachi, who earlier this month hired a firm
to build one meter of highway, the first and only segment of highway in
Romania's poorest region, Moldavia, in the northeast. His invitation was
answered by simple citizens, business people, county councilors and mayors,
pastry shops, haberdasheries, schools, associations, syndicates and NGOs.
"We need highways to deliver our
goods faster. Our car fleet is deteriorating fast on bad roads and maintenance
costs are going up. Crossing the country takes a huge amount of time, which in
turn increases the costs of our products, simply because our personnel costs
are much higher. Accident risks are higher on bad roads crossing multiple towns
and villages, and Moldavia has been neglected in terms of road infrastructure",
a message in support of the protest movement reads.
Road infrastructure is left
wanting not just in Moldavia, but everywhere else in the country. At the end of
2018, nearly three decades after the demise of communism and more than ten
years since the country joined the European Union, Romania had only 800 kilometers
of highway, of which 700 were built by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu before 1989.
Transport Minister Razvan Cuc says he can relate to the Romanians who joined
the protest as, he admits, their patience is wearing thin. The protest will
only incite us to speed up our projects, modify the legislation and simplify
procedures, says Minister Cuc, who believes the current state of affairs is
owed not just to the indolence of successive Governments, but also to bureaucracy.
Rail infrastructure doesn't fare any better. People say traveling by train in
Romania is like seeing on repeat the saddest film ever made. Delays are
routine, speed limits are embarrassingly low for the age of speed we are living
in, and the cars remind of World War II wagons. Many modernization works
subside after a few years and need redoing. Under these circumstances, Minister
Razvan Cuc has promised that the budget for this year provides for enough funds
to maintain the rail network and cars.