The government’s rural roads program “Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP)” is helping to provide rural communities with improved access to social services and economic opportunities.
The improvements in the Upazila Roads have changed the face of the countryside. RTIP has improved and maintained more than 2400 km of rural roads and built or improved 108 growth center markets and 28 jetties. The July 2009 data shows that RTIP has maintained more that 1400 kms of roads and 24,929 person-years of employment in the project areas. RTIP impact area covers over 44,000 square km in 21 Districts of the country.
The average travel times and transport costs have already reduced by more that 50 percent as of December 2007. The next and final round dry period data collection for the Socio-Economic Monitoring and Evaluation (SEME) study will be completed by June 2010. The new and well maintained rural roads have made it easier for the children to go to the school. Health care facilities are now more reachable. Economic opportunities opened up as now people can access the markets easily.
RTIP adopted an integrated approach to rural trace and transport infrastructure development by focusing on the physical improvements of inter linked roads, small bridges and culverts, growth center markets and river jetties.
The World Bank is supporting the Government’s “Rural Transport Improvement Project”. The World Bank has already disbursed around 75% of committed US $190 million. The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) is implementing the project. RTIP is also working to enhance the capacity of relevant government agencies to better manage rural transport infrastructure. RTIP started on July 2003 and was supposed to end this year. Now the project is extended and will end on 2011.
Financing Agreement for US$ 20 million Additional Financing of the Flood Rehabilitation Component under RTIP, was signed on February 7, 2008. Further US$ 7 million savings from the main RTIP will also be spent for flood rehabilitation. The Flood component is progressing well with more than a third of the physical works having been completed.
Policy and institutional reforms supported by the project include developing a comprehensive rural road transport safety framework and implementing sustainable enhancements to LGED’s capacities in planning, monitoring, finance, asset management, administration and governance.
The Government has requested the World Bank team recently for a follow up project with LGED which is currently under consideration of the Bank.