The investment plan for China's railway construction for the next three years has been settled, with an annual average investment exceeding 700 billion yuan ($102 billion), Wang Zhiguo, vice minister of railways, has said.
China aims to expand its operating railway network to 110,000 km by 2012, Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday.
Wang estimated that by the end of this year, China will have 5,600 km of new railway lines in operation with 2,500 km for passenger dedicated lines, making China's total operating length of railways reach 86,000 km, surpassing Russia and second only to the United States.
The ministry's investment into railway construction rose 88.6 percent year-on-year to 337.5 billion yuan in 2008, as part of the central government's efforts to stimulate the stagnant economy, according to Wang.
"We'll strive for getting the approval of building 20,000 km of new rails, with an investment of over 2 trillion yuan, in the remainder of this year and next year," Wang was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
"We plan to invest 600 billion yuan in railway construction this year," Wang said. "In the first seven months of the year, investment in infrastructure construction reached 247.49 billion yuan, up 136 percent from the same period of last year."
As of the end of July this year, 84.37 billion yuan had been invested in the Beijing-Shanghai express rail line since construction of the railway began last year, accounting for 38.8 percent of the planned total investment, said Wang.
Despite the boost for railway construction in recent months and the years to come, the ministry is making careful plans and will ensure sufficient funding, said Yang Zhongmin, head of the ministry's development and planning department.
Earlier, Yang had told reporters that in order to cater for passenger and cargo transport needs and the operation of new railways, the ministry plans to spend about 300 billion yuan in purchasing rolling stocks this year and in the coming year.