China plans to spend US$104.5 billion this year on extending its railway tracks by 5,2000 kilometers in what would be country’s third-largest investment in its history, Caixin reported. A Ministry of Railways official said the plan is subject to adjustments based on the economy at large. Railway infrastructure investment showed signs of recovery in the last quarter of 2012 and would continue rapid growth, he said. Last year, 1.9 billion passengers were transported on railways across China, up 4.8% from 2011. Cargo transport leveled off close to 3.9 billion tons. Railway investment began to soar in 2009 with the development of high-speed railways. The Chinese government invested more than US$113.3 billion in rail that year, exceeding the total of the years between 1996 and 2005, only to top that in 2010 with a US$135.5 billion boost. The figure fell in 2011 following scandals in the ministry and a bullet train crash that killed 41 passengers.
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