The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry unveiled an expansionary budget request Wednesday for fiscal 2004, featuring a 16 percent hike in overall outlays and a larger percentage of increase for improving urban infrastructure and for expressway projects.

Of the 8.046 trillion yen sought, 7.413 trillion yen is earmarked for public works projects.

Ministry officials said funds for public works earmarked for the improvement of urban infrastructure will go up 27 percent from the current fiscal year.

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