China mulls $103 bn rail investment

Beijing, Jan 17 (IANS) The Chinese government has plans to invest 650 billion yuan (about $103 billion) in railway construction this year, which is nearly equivalent to the amount spent last year, Xinhua reported.

New railways with a combined length of 5,200 km will go into operation this year as well, Minister for Railways Sheng Guangzu said Thursday during a meeting.

Though the amount is slightly up from the 630.98 billion yuan spent in 2012, it is significantly down from 2010's record investment of 842.65 billion yuan, data from the ministry showed.

The ministry will diversify financing channels by encouraging local governments, enterprises and private investors to participate in railway construction, Sheng said.

A national railway development fund will be established as an investment platform for social and private capital, the minister added.

By 2015, China will have around 120,000 km of railways in operation, including 18,000 km of high-speed railways and an express railway network totalling 40,000 km in length, according to the 12th five-year plan for railway development.

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