China will increase railway fixed asset investment to 720 billion yuan (117.09 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, Sheng Guangzu, general manager of the China Railway Corporation (CRC), has revealed. The objective is to meet market demand. Forty-nine new projects and over 7,000 kilometers of new railway lines will be put into operation this year.
The former plan set at the beginning of the year targeted 700 billion yuan of fixed asset investment, 44 new projects and 6,600 kilometers of new railway lines, according to the CRC.
Sheng said that 78 percent of all construction investment will be in central and western regions, which will have 86 percent of this year’s newly operated railways.
According to a five-year plan from 2011 to 2015, 230,000 kilometers of new railway lines will be built in central and western regions, with an investment of 1.85 trillion yuan.
The general manager said from 2011 to 2013, 1.15 trillion yuan had been invested in the two regions.
It was announced at last Wednesday’s State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang that China will speed up railway construction in the central and western regions to push forward urbanization and reduce regional inequality.
Li also highlighted measures for deepening reforms in railway financing, especially creating a railway development fund worth 200 to 300 billion yuan a year.
Disappointing economic indicators suggested China’s first quarter growth may have slipped below the annual target of 7.5 percent. The government has therefore mapped out ways to control the slowdown.
Supportive policies, including cutting tax for micro and small businesses, facilitating shanty-town renovation and speeding up railway construction, were announced last Wednesday in an attempt to inject new blood into the faltering economy.