El Salvador's Highway Conservation Fund (Fovial) will begin operations by repaving 350km of highway this month, according to newspaper El Diario de Hoy.
Works should be concluded by March 2002, when more of the country's highways in disrepair will be selected for maintenance works.
According to Fovial director Oscar Gomez, the state agency will only receive US$73mn of its initial US$90mn budget next year, US$50mn of which would derive from a US$0.20 surcharge applied per gallon of gasoline sold across the country. The remaining amount would come from the Public Works Ministry (MOP).
In 2002, Fovial is set to target a further 42% of the nation's 1,263km highways that are in critical condition, Gomez said.
Fovial was created to release funds for maintenance and repairs to the country's road infrastructure, which was badly damaged by two major earthquakes earlier this year.
The agency predicts US$90mn is needed annually to improve El Salvador's 5,551km road network over a period of four to five years. After that, the budget could be reduced to US$60mn.