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China to invest $422 billion in railways

Staff writer |
China plans to invest more than 2.8 trillion yuan ($421.68 billion) into railway construction, building no less than 23,000 kilometers of new rail lines during the 13th five-year plan period (2016-2020), the Economic Information Daily reports.

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China put forth a more comprehensive plan for further expanding the country's rail network at a State Council meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The railway is China's key means of transportation and the lifeline of China's economy. The new plan aims for more balanced national railway construction, bringing greater accessibility to more parts of China.

It also aims to build a comprehensive transportation network together with road, water and air transportation.

Li stressed at the meeting that developing the rail sector remains of critical importance to China.

"At present, it is still a pressing task for us to expand China's railway network. It is the lifeline of the economy," Li said.

"When compared to developed countries similar in size, the length of China's operating railways is still not long enough, and railway construction is important for stabilizing economic growth and structural reform especially in central and western China," he said.

In 2008, China's National Development and Reform Commission issued a national railway plan, targeting an operating rail network of more than 120,000 km by the year 2020. The new plan is an upgrade of the 2008 plan.

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