Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has unveiled the government’s plan for cleaner transportation, which aims at upgrading the country’s public transport system and gradual reduction of use of oil-powered motor vehicles.
The transport reform plan was introduced to government officials, lawmakers, experts, and representatives of local and international organizations at an outdoor presentation on October 22, in the outskirts of Tbilisi.
Speaking at the presentation, PM Bakhtadze stressed “green economy” is the government’s top priority, with transport policy being one of his reform plan’s integral components.
According to the Prime Minister, as part of this plan, in ten years’ time the government expects to replace 90% of the country’s automobile park with electric cars.
To achieve that, Bakhtadze said his cabinet will continue giving tax preferences on import of electric vehicles. He also announced the government is currently in talks with “two well-known” automobile producers on building an electric car plant in Georgia.
“This is a very ambitious plan, but at the same time, this plan will bring about a very huge advantage to Georgia,” Bakhtadze noted, adding that reduced demand on oil, “the country’s major import commodity,” would also help shorten the country’s trade deficit.
Bakhtadze also spoke on public transportation in Tbilisi, the country’s capital and the most populous city. He said “comfortable and affordable” public transport, not the number of private cars, should be the long-term objective.
The PM then announced the government, together with municipal authorities, has decided “integrate” Tbilisi’s railway and metro systems. Bakhtadze said a new overland line will be constructed from Samgori metro station to Lilo area in Tbilisi’s easternmost Isani and Samgori district.
Bakhtadze said the new route would also reach the Tbilisi International Airport, and could, in the future, connect the capital to Rustavi, a city just south of the capital city.
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze spoke next at the presentation, saying the city has “many problems” in terms of its transportation system. Kaladze then reassured the municipal authorities would spare no efforts to address these issues, and presented his action plan for updating the city’s public transportation system.
He also announced the capital is going to have a transportation master plan by the end of the year.