The government approved the allocation of NIS 19 billion to pave, develop and maintain inter-city roads until 2010. Most of the sum will be put toward paving new roads and widening existing ones, such as Highway 40, Army Radio reported. NIS 4 billion will be allotted to safety improvement and routine maintenance on the highways. The government made road improvements a goal for itself, beginning in 2006, in order to close the distance between the center of the country and periphery communities. Environmental groups have criticized the plans because of their potential harm to the ecology.