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Improving roads remains a priority in 2008

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Friday, February 29
“This is not just cheese, this is the combination of stability, roads and electricity,” President Mikheil Saakashvili declared, holding aloft a toothpick-speared cube of cheese, at the opening of a dairy factory in Samtskhe-Javakheti province last summer. Part of his point was to underline that good road infrastructure—a key government priority since the Rose Revolution—is essential to business development in Georgia.

In 2008 roads appear to be even more of a priority, with GEL 436 million from the state budget allotted to roads projects, up from GEL 137.8 million last year, according to the newspaper Rezonansi.

The construction of a second 657-meter long Chakvi–Makhinjauri tunnel, part of the Senaki–Poti–Sarpi highway, is due for completion in 2008 and the Economic Development Ministry is expected to privatize the Rikoti tunnel in western Georgia this year.