China plans to expand rural highway network
There is a popular saying in China that "In order to get rich, it's necessary to have good roads first" -- and the Chinese government is putting this saying into practice in its vast rural areas.
The Ministry of Communications is working on a program to greatly expand the rural highway network, hoping it would link up nearly all villages by 2020.
According to the program, the total length of rural highways shall reach 1.55 million km by 2005, as compared with 1.37 million km at the end of 2003. There shall be highways to 99.9 percent of the township administrative centers and 96 percent of administrative villages by that time.
By 2010, the total length of rural highways shall reach 1.85 million km. In developed areas, regular bus services shall extend to most villages.
By 2020, the total length of rural highways shall reach 2.5 million km and regular bus services shall extend to nearly all villages.
In China, people have realized good roads are important to economic growth. It's widely believed that the economic success of east China's Shandong Province is largely due to its large-scale highway construction at an early stage.