Business / Policy Watch

Nation's top railway operator adds to new projects budget

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-10 07:20

During a State Council meeting on April 2, Premier Li Keqiang said China will speed up the construction of railways in these two regions to advance urbanization, boost industries and reduce regional inequality.

Nation's top railway operator adds to new projects budget

Nation's top railway operator adds to new projects budget

Li also discussed measures for deepening reforms in the financing of railways, highlighting a railway development fund worth roughly 200 to 300 billion yuan a year.

The government will issue bonds worth 150 billion yuan ($24 billion) to finance the construction of rail lines this year.

In the People's Daily report on Wednesday, Sheng did not mention the construction of the high-speed rail network. The publication quoted an unnamed industry observer that the omission indicates there is a shift away from the "overzealous" construction of high-speed railways to a "more sustainable growth".

"The construction of high-speed lines costs much more than building regular rail lines and is likely to create colossal debt for the railway industry and for local governments. The ticket price of a high-speed train ride often exceeds what many blue-collar or migrant workers can afford," the unnamed observer said.

"I am not saying that high-speed lines are bad, but not building some unnecessary high-speed lines can save on skyrocketing costs. We can then use that money to build more ordinary lines that ordinary people can afford."

According to the national railway network plan, there will be 19,000 km of high-speed rail lines by 2015.

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