(MENAFN - Arab News) Riyadh Gov. Prince Khaled bin Bandar has said that the huge allocation for the transport sector in the 2014 national budget is a pointer to the key role it plays in promoting development.
Prince Khaled was speaking after inaugurating the "Leading Public Transport Projects in Saudi Arabia Exhibition and Forum" at the Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center on Sunday.
Addressing the opening session of the three-day event, Prince Khaled said Saudi Arabia had witnessed major achievements in various fields, including the transport sector, while promoting economic development.
The Kingdom is committed to providing high quality transportation service to meet the rapid growth in both population and the national economy, he said.
The event, organized by the Ministry of Transport, was attended by top Saudi officials, including Prince Turki bin Abdullah, deputy governor of Riyadh, corporate honchos and representatives of local and international organizations.
"The exhibition reflects the importance of transportation projects," he said, adding that the population in Riyadh was increasing and there was need for modern means of transport to cope with the rapid development taking place in the city.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Ab
dullah has approved the King Abdulaziz Public Transportation project in the capital, which includes operation of both trains and buses, Prince Khaled said.
The governor said these projects have been awarded to three global alliances, and its implementation would be overseen by the High Commission for Riyadh Development (HCRD). The project will become operational in four years time.
"Once they are completed, we shall have an integrated and effective public transport system in Riyadh," he said, adding that the project will have positive impact on many economic and social activities in the region.
Speaking on the occasion, Transport Minister Jabara Al-Suraiseri said a comprehensive development study for Dammam has been completed and a report submitted to the King.
The white lands (vacant) that block the Haramain Train project are subject to expropriation, he said, adding that compensation to the owners would be fair and should not be an obstacle in the path of any project.
The minister said the owners of these properties who are not appearing at the Departments of Roads in their respective cities where the ministry had taken up projects are creating problems.
In such cases, the ministry will have to initiate action, he said.
Al-Suraiseri confirmed that the ministry had 80 maintenance contracts for roads including bridges and tunnels which are under committees working in all regions of the Kingdom.
King Abdullah, he said, had advised the ministry to study the current situation of the public transport sector and learn from international experience and modern techniques to meet the needs of the community at an affordable price with the highest standards of safety, security and environmental conservation.
These efforts had contributed to the success of various authorities concerned to have in place urban projects in public transport in various cities according to the latest specification. These projects will be implemented in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Al-Madinah, he said.