The origins of the Ministry of Transport and Communications
date back to 1896, when Nicolas de Pierola was President of Peru. On January 18 of that year, the Congress of the Republic enacted the Law that created the Ministry of Development and Public Works, which was responsible for the country’s Public Works, Industry and Charity sectors. As an entity of the Executive Branch, it pooled different functions that currently correspond to several ministries, such as transport, housing, labor, indigenous matters, mines, irrigation, immigration, industry, water, sanitation, agriculture, etc. The first minister to take over the sector was Eng. Eduardo Lopez Romaña (President of Peru from 1899 to 1903).
In the early 20th century, in a period of political stability during which the national economy was organized, the role of the new Ministry was to boost policies aimed at promoting Peru’s modernization, development and integration through the construction of roads, railways, bridges, buildings, etc.
During the government of Augusto B. Leguia (1919-1930), development and maintenance of road and rail infrastructure in Lima and the interior of the country (rural and trunk roads) increased. Through its Corps of Engineers, the Ministry of Development participated actively in designing, executing and supervising these public works, backed by the Road Conscription Law, enacted on April 6, 1920.
Given the importance of this sector for the promotion of public works, its new premises (located on Avenida 28 de Julio) opened in 1925. During the opening ceremony – which was also attended by the President of the Republic – the Minister of Development and Public Works, Dr. Pedro Jose Rada y Gamio, started his speech with the following statement: “Mr. President of the Republic, I came here to open this monumental building intended for the operation of the Ministry of Development, a center whose activities radiate the country’s progress, a result of your amazing skills as strategist and of the immensurable thrust of your sublime patriot’s heart.”
Later, in the second half of the 20th century, roads kept being built across the national territory, following a Road Plan (which classified and prioritized the execution and maintenance of roads) prepared by the Ministry of Development. To this effect, new measures were introduced, such as the creation of excises or additional taxes that applied to specific consumer products, to finance the conservation, construction and improvement of trunk roads or local roads in specific areas. Another measure that sought to modernize the road maintenance system and reduce transport costs was the creation of a tolling system (Act No.15,773).
During the military government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado, there were changes in the government bodies and departments, which aimed at reorganizing, rationalizing, and streamlining the State’s internal structure. The enactment of Decree Law No. 17,271, dated December 3, 1968, dissolved the Ministry of Development and Public Works. This resulted in the former Ministry’s different action lines forming different ministries with specific functions that differentiated them from one another. It is based on this law that the current Ministry of Transport and Communications was legally and nominally born; the Ministry is in charge of managing, developing, regulating and inspecting construction and conservation activities, as well as the use of land, water and air routes, and the mail and telecommunication services; and of regulating and coordinating vehicle traffic.
In 1992, during the government of Alberto Fujimori, it was considered necessary to merge the Ministry of Housing and Construction with the Ministry of Transport and Communications . Thus, Decree Law No. 25,491 was issued. Subsequently, Decree Law No. 25,862, “Organic Law of the Transport, Communications, Housing and Construction Sector,” was enacted, which establishes the sector’s competences and functions, as well as its internal organizational structure.
In the early 21st century, the Ministry was restructured anew, within a framework of reforms aimed at modernizing State management. With the approval of Law No. 27,779, the Transports and Communications Sector was split from the Housing and Construction Sector. During this new stage, the Ministry of Transport and Communications assumed the mission to integrate the country both internally and externally, in order to achieve a rational organization, connecting resources, production, markets and population centers by regulating, promoting, executing and supervising the transport and telecommunications infrastructure.
In December 2005, the Ministry of Transport and Communications moved to its current domicile, i.e., the building located at the intersection of Avenida Zorritos with Avenida Tingo Maria. This place, which was previously occupied by Electrolima, offers more comfort to the Ministry’s users and workers because the premises are larger, the infrastructure is better, and there are green areas.
Over the last decade, the Ministry has been promoting and developing important projects within the transport and communications areas, such as the Longitudinal Highland Road, the Optical Fiber Backbone Network, etc. The modernization and improvement of the national road network, as well as the development of the country’s port, airport (Chincheros Airport), waterway, railway and telecommunications infrastructure are performed through concessions, with clear participation of private investment. Under this planning scheme and in agreement with an investment plan, the Ministry intends to reduce the country’s infrastructure gap, in order to make the national economy more competitive.
Finally, since its creation in the 19th century, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has kept contributing to the country’s modernization, to its geographical integration and to improving the living standards of all Peruvians. The MTC has a clear mission, which is to boost and facilitate efficient, safe and competitive transport and telecommunications systems that contribute to the country’s social inclusion and to sustainable economic development.