Authorities in Beijing and Tianjin announced plans to build a high-speed intercity transport network to boost integration between the two neighbors. Among the plans unveiled is a US$1.7bn high-speed rail link, cutting travel time between the two municipalities to half an hour. Two new expressways will also be built to ease congestion on the current single freeway linking the two cities a road that has seen traffic rise by 20% annually in the 13 years since it opened. Tianjin is the largest port in the north China region. Officials said the new links are designed to help realize the goal of making the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area China's third economic growth pole alongside the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas.
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