|October 29th, 2008, 05:45 PM||#3001|
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Read it and weep. Ok, it's only $275 billion US dollars, but ...
China to invest A$445bn in rail system
From correpondents in Beijing
October 25, 2008 06:08pm
CHINA will invest nearly $A445 billion in its overburdened rail system as a stimulus measure aimed at blunting the impact of the global financial crisis.
The investment is part of plans to extend the country's railway network from the current roughly 125,502km to nearly 160,900km by 2010, Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post reported.
The Beijing News quoted a rail official as saying that, while the network needed extending, the massive investment was also intended to help lift the nation's economy as it suffers amid the global woes.
"New rail investment will become a shining light in efforts to push forward economic growth," railway ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said.
China's economy recorded its slowest growth in five years at 9.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2008.
The situation has looked increasingly dire in recent days with export-dependent factories closing and laying off thousands of workers, with warnings from industry heads of much worse to come.
The China Daily newspaper said the rail investment plan had been approved by the State Council. About 1.2 trillion yuan ($A252 billion) had already been allocated, it said.
The paper quoted a government policy adviser saying the plan was similar to China's successful strategy for warding off the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.
"In 1997, we dealt with the Asian financial crisis by stimulating domestic economic growth through investment in the construction of highways," Zheng Xinli said.
"This time the money will go to improving the rail network."
China's railway network is one of the most extensive in the world, but has come under pressure as the nation's economy has boomed, giving millions more the opportunity to travel.
Among them, more than 200 million migrant workers are estimated to have left their homes in the countryside for work in urban or coastal areas.
The vulnerability of the rail network was laid bare last winter when fierce snowstorms crippled
China's transport systems, stranding millions of passengers trying to return to their homes during the peak Chinese New Year travel period.
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