Chongqing, China: At a railway construction meeting held in Chongqing on April 11, Chinese vice premier Ma Kai said the government will invest over 800 billion yuan (US$129 billion) to reach the goal of building over 8,000 kilometers of railways.
Although Premier Li Keqiang did not attend the meeting in person, he instructed authorities to continue to strengthen the construction of key rail links in central and western regions of the country to ensure that the targets for this year will be met and to support new momentum for economic development.
Railway construction was an important part of the government’s 12th five-year plan for national economic development, from 2011 to 2015.
Actual investment in railway projects is expected to total 3.47 trillion yuan (US$558 billion) during the five-year period, far exceeding the initially planned amount of 2.8 trillion yuan (US$450 billion), Guangzhou’s 21st Century Business Herald said.
Over the next five years, the government plans to invest another 2.8 trillion yuan building 23,000 kilometers of track, the daily said, citing an unnamed expert who took part in the drafting of the 13th five-year plan from 2016 to 2020.
The expert said the next five years will continue to be a golden period for railway construction in China.
Although the construction of primary routes has been completed under the 12th five-year plan, many sub-routes — mainly intercity networks — have yet to be built, the expert said, and high-speed rail construction is also planned for central and western China.
Given the importance attached by the government to railways, actual investment in railway projects under the 13th five-year plan will likely range between 3.5 trillion yuan and 4 trillion yuan (US$565 billion-$645 billion), a source familiar with the matter told