China’s multi-trillion-yuan high-speed rail investment scheme has been revised with new guidelines for local governments, Caixin Global reports, after setbacks arose involving poor planning and fears of white elephant projects.
As part of its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the Chinese government pledged to spend RMB 3.5 trillion ($549.5 billion) to enrich and expand the nation’s rail system, with a special emphasis placed on high-speed trains.
Governments of small cities have been keen to be involved in the project, vying for the rights to build stations along nearby routes. This has led to many stations being built miles away from downtown areas and overspending in order to bring disproportionate traffic through provincial towns.
The guidelines specify a maximum limit for the distance a new station can be from major urban areas, and put limits on how project managers can raise funds.