China plans to raise its fixed-asset investment in railways to 720 billion yuan (US$117.07 billion) this year from an original target of 700 billion yuan, the People’s Daily reported Thursday, citing Sheng Guangzu, general manager of China Railway Corp.
This marks another railway investment peak after it climbed past 700 billion yuan for the first time in 2009 and hit a historical high of 842.7 billion yuan in 2010. Investment slowed for three consecutive years from 2011 to 2013 following a corruption scandal in the railway ministry and a deadly train crash in Wenzhou.
Whether the 720 billion yuan investment could be fully realized within this year remains uncertain, however, the National Business Daily reported Thursday. Dong Yan, a researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission, was quoted as saying that it will be very difficult to complete the construction of 16,000 kilometers of railways in two years’ time.
According to the 12th Five-Year Plan, railway investment should reach 1.85 trillion yuan to complete 23,000 kilometers of new railways in the central-western region, but only 7,000 kilometers were built from 2011 to 2013.
Meanwhile, Sheng disclosed that the government will set up a railways development fund, which is expected to reach 300 billion yuan by 2015, to help fund the construction of railways, adding that it will invite private capital into the sector.
The company will also issue 150 billion yuan worth of bonds to fund the construction of rail lines this year, Sheng added.
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