According to the state press China will invest nearly $300 billion in its overburdened rail system as a stimulus measure aimed at blunting the impact of the global financial crisis.
Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post reported the investment as part of plans to extend the country’s railway network from the current roughly 78,000 miles to nearly 100,000 miles by 2010.
The Beijing News quoted a rail official as saying that, while the network needed extending, the massive investment of $292 billion was also intended to help lift the nation’s economy as it suffers amid the global woes.
Railway ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said. ‘New rail investment will become a shining light in efforts to push forward economic growth.’
China’s economy recorded its slowest growth in five years at 9.0% in the third quarter of 2008.
The China Daily newspaper said the rail investment plan had been approved by the State Council and that about RMB1.2 trillion (about $170 billion) had already been allocated.
The paper quoted a government policy advisor saying the plan was similar to China’s successful strategy for warding off the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.