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Tue Oct 29, 2013, 06:43 AM

Silk Road economic belt proposal

ALMATY, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The creation of an economic belt stretching along the ancient Silk Road coincides with Kazakhstan's foreign policy, says a Kazakh expert on international issues.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the idea during his recent visit to Central Asia, eyeing the the cultural revival of the Silk Road, which historically links China with Central Asia and Europe, as a way of developing political and economic ties.

Elnara Baynazarova told Xinhua that her country's foreign policy adheres to the concept of Kazakhstan being at the heart of Eurasia, the state connecting Western and Eastern values, and a bridge for communication between the two civilizations...

... It will first boost the development of the country's small towns and peripheral regions that will stand at the junctions of the main transport routes, she said, adding that it may help build more economic infrastructure in Kazakhstan's remote areas and create new jobs.

Moreover, the construction of the highway linking Western China and Western Europe could provide additional funds to Kazakhstan's state budget by imposing special fares for travel, registration of passengers and freight cargo, she said...

/... http://www.neurope.eu/article/kazakh-expert-hails-silk-road-economic-belt-proposal

Oh yeah. China & Central Eurasia closer, on the ground, to Western Europe. Cough. Interesting...

... Toll roads have existed for at least the last 2,700 years, as tolls had to be paid by travellers using the Susa–Babylon highway under the regime of Ashurbanipal, who reigned in the 7th century BC. Aristotle and Pliny refer to tolls in Arabia and other parts of Asia. In India, before the 4th century BC, the Arthasastra notes the use of tolls. Germanic tribes charged tolls to travellers across mountain passes. Tolls were used in the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries.

A 14th-century example (though not for a road) is Castle Loevestein in the Netherlands, which was built at a strategic point where two rivers meet, and charged tolls on boats sailing along the river.

Many modern European roads were originally constructed as toll roads in order to recoup the costs of construction, maintenance and as a source of tax money that is paid primarily by someone other than the local residents. In 14th-century England, some of the most heavily used roads were repaired with money raised from tolls by pavage grants. Wide spread toll roads sometimes restricted traffic so much, by their high tolls, that they interfered with trade and cheap transportation needed to alleviate local famines or shortages... - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toll_road

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