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Railway, Road Projects to Get Additional US$8.79 Bln in Q4

An additional 50 billion yuan (US$7.33 billion) will be spent on railway projects and 10 billion yuan on transport infrastructure in the fourth quarter of this year.

The additional amount will take this year's railway expenditure to 350 billion yuan, a Ministry of Railways press release said on Tuesday.

The government is expected to approve projects to build 10,000 km of railways in 2009 and 2010, with expenditure of about 1 trillion yuan in each of the two years.

According to the ministry, the total railway expenditure between 2004 and 2020 will cross 5 trillion yuan.

The Ministry of Transport said the central government granted 10 billion yuan in addition to the 100 billion yuan it had allocated for the fourth quarter to spur domestic demand and boost the economy.

A Ministry of Transport press release said the money would be mainly used to build roads in rural areas and expressways, with projects in western China and under-developed areas getting the priority.

The 10 billion yuan is expected to generate an additional investment of 40 billion yuan in the fourth quarter of this year and 30 billion yuan in the first quarter of 2009 because some of the projects will continue till next year.

Experts said the money could increase the demand for construction materials and machinery, fuel and workers.

"Every 100 million yuan of investment in expressway construction can create 1,800 jobs directly and 2,100 jobs indirectly," said Guan Changyu, deputy chief of the Transport Planning and Research Institute.

"An average of 1,000 tons of steel, 9,000 tons of cement and 1,900 tons of asphalt are needed to build 1 km of expressway," he said.

The Ministry of Transport plans to raise its annual spending on infrastructure to 1 trillion yuan each in 2009 and 2010.

The spending this year would be about 800 billion yuan, 20 billion yuan more than last year.

But the focus during the next two years will still be construction of roads in rural areas, expressways and waterway projects, it said.

(China Daily November 12, 2008)

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