Xinhua – China’s Railway Ministry plans to invest 500 billion yuan (79 billion US dollars) on fixed assets in 2012, including 400 billion yuan (63.2 billion US dollars) for railway construction, minister Sheng Guangzu said at an annual railway working conference.
The investment scale registers a slight decline from the total expenditure of 469 billion yuan this year and a marked decrease from over 700 billion yuan (111 billion US dollars) in 2010.
Since the deadly crash between two high-speed trains in Wenzhou in July, this is the first time the government announced a clear-cut goal for future railway development.
According to the official, the investment will be used to finish key projects, and some 6,366 kilometers (3956 miles) of new lines will be put into service in 2012.
Money will also be used to kick off construction of major coal transport lines and projects that help complete a trunk railway network and are urgently needed for economic development
The ministry is reportedly 2 trillion yuan (316.12 billion US dollars) in debt. Because money from the government’s stimulus plan worth 4 trillion yuan (about billion US dollars) dried up and the tightened monetary policy made it unable to get bank loans, the ministry suffered a shortage of funds in 2011.
That led to the halting of more than 10,000 km of high-speed railway projects, including projects due to open this year being postponed to next year.
Sheng said that efforts will be made to gain support from related government agencies, expand the scale of bonds it issued, and get more bank loans.
The ministry will also make good use of all kinds of market tools and try to attract local government investment and private funds, he said.