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China to boost railway spending by 80 percent

China to boost railway spending by 80 percent

China will raise its spending on railway construction by 80 percent in 2009 to $87.9 billion as part of a stimulus plan to boost domestic demand, state media said Wednesday.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the figure of 600 billion yuan ($87.9 billion) for railway infrastructure projects was announced at a national railway meeting. The country spent $48.35 billion (330 billion yuan) on railway construction in 2008, it said.
The spending is part of a $586 billion (4 trillion yuan) stimulus package announced by the government in November.
Xinhua did not say how much of the spending was new money and how much was previously budgeted.
It quoted Railway Minister Liu Zhijun as saying 3,200 miles (5,148 kilometers) of new lines would be built in 2009.
Five high-speed passenger lines will also go into operation next year, Liu said. Most of the lines are in southern China.
Liu said 70 projects would be started in 2009 as part of a goal of easing a rail transport strain by 2012.
"There could be a historic change in the country's railway transport by 2012. The bottleneck restraints both in passenger and cargo transportation could be removed," Liu was quoted as saying.
Total railway lines could reach 68,000 miles (110,000 kilometers) in 2012, up from 48,500 miles (78,000 kilometers) at the end of 2007.
Xinhua said about 1.46 billion people traveled by rail in 2008, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. About 3.3 billion tons of cargo was delivered by rail in 2008, up 4.9 percent from 2007, it said.


Updated : 2021-02-26 00:28 GMT+08:00