Despite the fact that the budget of 255 million TL for the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation was passed by a majority at the Assembly, opposition members and other critics have hit out at the shortfall.
Engineers are saying that after 10 years of neglect and promises to build more roads, the transport ministry’s budget is insufficient.
Sadly, this is highlighted by the roll call of road deaths this year. So far, there have been 29 fatalities on the road, mostly caused by inadequate road barriers. Adding to the hazards of driving are poor road surfaces, poor lighting, insufficient traffic lights and signage.
Former Director of the Highways Department Hasan Nihat Erduran and Mechanical Engineer Ayer Yarkıner speaking to ‘Kibris Gazetesi’ said that despite the warnings by road safety experts, the budget allocated for transportation would be enough to pay the personnel expenses but that there would be problems launching new road improvement projects.
Erduran said that after looking at the budget, there were other issues such as works vehicles which were on average 18 years old. Staffing numbers had also decreased.
“Road construction plant, asphalt heating plant, these were never considered in the budget. They should have been included as well as official service vehicles. These are also included in capital expenses. There is also a problem with the number of staff. The number of civil servants who should have been 95 has decreased to 28, the number of workers who needed to be 350 went down to 106. In other words, there are 134 in total. However, it should have been 445 in total. So now the department is working at 30 percent of the total required capacity.”
Traffic Accident Prevention Association chairman Mehmet Avcı said that the budget was insufficient to construct much-needed new roads.
Meanwhile, it is still not clear if the budget will effect previously announced plans to turn the Alsancak-Lapta road into a dual carriageway to relieve the traffic bottleneck, he said: “There has been damage and erosion of our roads for the past 10 years and even when they are fixed, they are not fixed properly.”