PHOTO FOCUS STORY PROMISES VS. RESULTS AT A GLANCE RELATED STORIES
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The economic renaissance promised by the Saakashvili administration rides largely on a derelict system of roads and rail. With that in mind, the government has made overhauling regional transportation networks a key -- and costly -- priority. But how fast can policy translate into reality for ordinary Georgians? Check out four promises and their results.

PROMISE / RESULT   1 of 4

PROMISE: 2004 - “Almost no roads have been constructed in Georgia since its independence. We will completely deal with the roads in Tbilisi and with the main roads in Kutaisi, Zugdidi and in other towns. Next year we will construct a new highway connecting Zugdidi, Chkhorutsku, Tsalenjikha and Senaki. This will be a 91-kilometer-long highway, which will be opened next year on November 23 [second anniversary of the 2003 Rose Revolution],”

- President Mikheil Saakashvili
December 29, 2004

RESULT: 2005 - On April 6, President Saakashvili attended a ceremony in Senaki marking the start of construction on the 91-kilometer highway linking the city with Zugdidi. Road construction has also started in Tbilisi, currently concentrated on the highway leading into the city from the airport.

PROMISE / RESULT   2 of 4

PROMISE: 2004 - On December 23, former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania stated that expected privatization revenue of $200 million would go to investment in roads, energy and armed forces.

RESULT: 2005 - At an April 21 press conference, Roman Dalakishvili, head of the Georgian State Roads Department, announced that 85 million lari, or about $47 million, would be spent in 2005 on road reconstruction, repair and maintenance. The amount, supplemented by additional privatization revenues, represents a 32 percent increase from earlier budget projections.

PROMISE / RESULT   3 of 4

PROMISE: 2004 - “I hope that from the next year we will start construction of Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Karsi [a town in eastern Turkey] highway. This project is vital from both the political and economic point of view because due to this project the entire region of Javakheti [a predominately ethnic Armenian region] will be integrated into the Georgian economic space, which is of vital importance for Georgiaís future.”

- President Mikheil Saakashvili
December 29, 2004

RESULT: 2005 - On April 6, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a protocol dealing with the construction of a rail line from the Georgian city of Akhalkalaki to the Turkish city of Kars. Initial estimates put the cost at around $400 million. According to reports published in December 2004, Turkey has already pledged an unspecified amount of money for the project.

PROMISE / RESULT   4 of 4

PROMISE: 2004 - President Saakashvili tied Georgia’s transportation infrastructure with its chances for economic development. “What will be the top priority for us for the next year? We should concentrate on economic projects next year. We will rebuild infrastructure. There is no economic development without development of infrastructure,” he said in a televised year-end speech.

RESULT: 2005 - On March 27, Georgia and Russia launched a joint rail ferry line between the Georgian port of Poti and the Russian port of Kavkaz. Meetings with Italian businessmen in August 2004 also led to a plan for a new, European-style autobahn from Poti to the eastern border between Georgia and Azerbaijan. Construction is expected to start in early 2006.

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