The government has earmarked €30 million in funding for road maintenance for municipalities in the supplementary budget for 2020, which would largely double the amount of money to be spent for that purpose during the year, Postimees said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications denies that the allocation is to do with a plan to make state roads a responsibility of municipalities.
"Additional money will be allocated to local governments via the support fund," Head of the Road Service at the ministry Julia Bergstein said.
"The current formula of 1:5 will be used," Bergstein said, referring to the formula whereby the total number of kilometers of local streets and roads in a municipality is divided by five to get the amount of subsidy the municipality is entitled to.
The ministry wants the additional money to be spent first and foremost for the repair of gravel roads or surfacing them with asphalt, especially in areas of the public transport operation.
According to a calculation provided in the national road maintenance plan prepared by the Road Administration, surfacing of gravel roads costs €100,000 per kilometer on average. In the case of the southeastern municipality of Põlva, which stands to get €470,000 under the 1:5 formula, the additional amount would suffice for surfacing about 4,7 kilometers of road.
Põlva municipality Deputy Mayor Martti Rõigas explained that the actual number of kilometers that can be surfaced depends on the specific road and the technology used, which may allow to even double the number of kilometers in places where specific technologies such as surfacing with non-graded crushed stone can be used.
The municipalities to receive the biggest additional amounts of money for road work are Tallinn, which stands to get over €3,4 million, Saaremaa municipality, €1,4 million, Tartu, €1,2 million, and Pärnu, over €1 million euros.
"For the endorsement of the precise principles of the distribution of the additional funds the supplementary budget has to take effect first," Sulev Liivik, Head of the Department for Financial Management of Municipalities at the Ministry of Finance said. He added that the matter will be discussed also with the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities.
The Riigikogu is expected to adopt the supplementary budget on April 15.
Editor: Roberta Vaino