0235 GMT May 22, 2019
"The construction of 840 kilometers of metro lines has been approved, out of which 294 kilometers have become operational," said Mehdi Jamalinejad, deputy interior minister in urban and rural development, in the southwestern city of Shiraz on Thursday.
He added that 295 kilometers of metro are currently under construction in megacities while studies are being conducted on additional 251 kilometers.
Jamalinejad, who was speaking at a ceremony to launch two metro stations in Shiraz, pointed to the burgeoning population in megacities, describing it as 'the megacity syndrome'.
Infrastructure developments, particularly urban rail transit, in major cities play a crucial role in addressing this 'syndrome', he said, adding that one of his ministry's priorities is to pursue the delivery of train wagons for such cities.
"In near future some 2,000 wagons will be delivered to megacities, alleviating many of the problems they face (in transportation)."
The official added that 824 million journeys are undertaken by metro in Iranian cities annually.
Lack of state budget
Speaking at the same ceremony, Hassan Moradi, a provincial official, said the main problem hindering the development of metro projects in Iran is the lack substantial state budget.
"Not having substantial state budget has slowed down the progress of metro projects in many megacities such as Shiraz," he said, adding that credit lines are need for the projects not to hit a wall.
Many Iranian mayors, appointed by elected city councils, have criticized the insufficient budgets allocated by the government for metro projects.
The government, however, maintains that as the councils are run independently and have their own financial sources, should not expect too much.