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China to Invest 3.5 Tln Yuan in Railways over Next 5 Years

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The photo taken on Oct. 14, 2010 shows a high-speed train in Xi'an railway station of northwest China's Shaanxi Province. [] 

The Chinese government plans to invest 3.5 trillion yuan (US$525.9 billion) in railway construction during the 12th Five-Year Plan program (2011-2015), the Economic Observer reports.

An unnamed official with the Ministry of Railways told the newspaper that the government would invest an average of 700 billion yuan annually in the coming five years for a total increase of 1.3 trillion yuan compared with the amount it has invested during the current five-year plan period.

According to the ministry's plan, future railway construction will focus on the refurbishment of old railways and the building of high-speed rail lines.

In 2015, the length of railways in China will total more than 120,000 kilometers and include 30,000 kilometers of new track.

The report also indicated that more local governments and enterprises would participate in railway investment during the next five years.

A second unnamed ministry official said most railway construction during the 12th Five-Year Plan period would consist of provincial or lower-level projects that directly promoted local economic development, so that local governments would be willing to become the main investors and encourage competent companies to provide financial support for the railways as well.

The official also said local government funds would account for 60 percent of the county's total railway investment during the next five years.

( November 6, 2010)