Public Works Minister William Gyude Moore hosted a stakeholders’ meeting last Friday, June 30, where he briefed partners on a US$2.6 billion funding gap for road reconstruction network in Monrovia.
The well-attended meeting was held at the ministry’s conference hall, where the minister made a powerpoint presentation.
Minister Moore told the gathering that after a study spanning many years, the Liberian government has finally decided to shift from asphalt road construction to concrete cement pavement for primary and secondary roads in the country. He explained that the Road Fund Act was created to institutionalize a culture of maintenance so that Liberia’s investments in roads are maintained.
Minister Moore said the Road Fund Act will help to raise funds through the collection of road user fees. 60 percent of the funds will be reserved for road maintenance; and over time, under the Road Fund Act, maintenance of secondary and feeder roads will be managed by counties applying for project financing.
He disclosed that some experiments have been carried out in Monrovia, including the concrete cement pavement of the Redemption Road behind the Barclay Military Training Center.
Besides, Minister Moore cited the paved streets of Harper, Maryland, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh and Buchanan, Grand Bassa, as well as Mechlin Street in Monrovia, Montserrado County dating back to the 1950’s and 80’s. He reminded stakeholders that the concrete cement pavement is not as expensive as asphalt road construction, which is not only expensive, but is associated with too many maintenance costs as compared to the concrete pavement. He pointed out that the roadmap presented to the partners is part of a 20-year plan for the reconstruction of roads throughout the country.
“I am of the strongest conviction that if this master plan is accepted and financially supported our country is on the way to socioeconomic progress to improve the lives of our citizens,” Minister Moore said.
Across the nation for many decades, Minister Moore said, roads continue to create hardship for the majority of rural Liberians as a result of their deplorable conditions and the headache of the financial cost of maintenance.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Daily Observer, when asked whether there were inputs from the partners on the preparation of the roadmap, Minister Moore responded in the affirmative and added that a World Bank expert assisted the ministry.
He disclosed that the MPW needs US$120 million for the construction of concrete pavement of the primary and secondary roads in the country. Minister Moore underscored the need for the future mobilization of funds through a trust fund to ensure accountability.
He said the Road Trust Fund will be used to maintain feeder, primary and secondary roads in the country. Minister Moore clarified that if the National Legislature passes the Local Government Act, the maintenance of feeder roads would be carried out by county administrations across the country.
Minister Moore said currently, Liberia’s rural access index is estimated at 41.9 percent, and that 2.3 million Liberians lack access to good roads. He stressed that Liberia’s long-term road network planning strives to advance inclusive growth by following development corridors identified by the country’s Agenda for Transformation designed to maximize agriculture value chains.