Minister: More than $2 billion will upgrade Cuba's transportation system over 5 years

Campaign News | Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Associated Press

HAVANA: Cuba will spend more than $2 billion over five years to upgrade its dilapidated public transportation system, state media reported Saturday.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma quoted Transportation Minister Jorge Luis Sierra saying the improvements include adding 1,500 buses to the public fleet.

Vice Minister Joel Beltran Archer said that more than $1 billion already had been invested in the nation's public transport in three years as the country struggles to recover from a severe financial crisis in the early 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost its preferential trade.

Other plans include extensive repairs to the pothole-pocked main highways across the Caribbean island and the addition of more than 1,000 taxis to urban streets in the coming year.

Cubans frequently criticize the island's transportation system, saying there are not enough decent buses and other vehicles to travel to work and school quickly and efficiently. Interim leader Raul Castro, filling in during his older brother Fidel's illness, has made improving public transport a key priority.

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