Acting Finance Minister Ehud Olmert approved Tuesday a program to provide NIS 19 billion over the next five years to develop and maintain inter-urban roads and increase safety. The program, to be administered through the Israel National Road Company Ltd., emphasizes development that is worthwhile economically and benefits the transportation network, the Finance Ministry said. Some NIS 13.3 billion will go to paving new roads and further developing existing roads. For instance, the coastal highway will be widened between Netanya and Caesaria; Road 78 will be widened and improved between the Ein Aphek junction and Nazareth; and the Beersheba bypass road (Road 40 to the cityâ€™s east) will be completed. Furthermore, at least NIS 4.1b. will be used to fund preventative running maintenance of the road network; NIS 750 million is budgeted for specific safety projects; and the remaining NIS 820m. will go to planning priorities for allocating funds in the next five-year plan, research and development, and traffic control, the ministry said. Of the funding, NIS 2.2b. will be included in the 2006 budget, NIS 2.8b. in the 2007 budget, NIS 3.5b. in 2008, and NIS 4b. each in both 2009 and 2010, as costs of continuing projects from previous years add up. The remaining NIS 2.5b. is intended to cover costs of continued work on development projects begun in the five-year period beyond 2010. Olmert said he would present the program to the interministerial socio-economic committee for approval at its next meeting.