Bullet train won't derail growth: gov't

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, December 24, 2009
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But Li at the railway ministry said that, despite no hearing being held on the ticket prices, the prices were set based on those of the Beijing-Tianjin line.

"This is the trial price subject to change according to market demand," Li said.

He declined to predict when the 90-billion yuan investment in the Wuhan-Guangzhou line could be recovered, but he said the sooner that high-speed rails are constructed, the lower the cost will be and the quicker the investment can be recouped.

"The ever-rising cost of land, labor and construction materials are the factors that push up the total cost of construction," he said.

Wan Jun, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, also told the Global Times that there was no need to question the government's investment in high-speed railway construction, as it could effectively boost China's economy and solve the capacity shortage facing the lines between heavily populated major cities.

"The Beijing-Shanghai and Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railways are good examples. They will manage to reduce the capacity pressure brought by travelers," he said.

Chinese railways are the busiest in world, especially during the Spring Festival when the country's millions of migrant workers head home.

A 1,318-kilometer Beijing-Shanghai line, set to open in 2012, will cut the trip between Beijing and Shanghai from 10 hours to five.

It's a 221-billion-yuan project, dubbed the most expensive program in Chinese history, exceeding even the cost of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project, which cost 203.9 billion yuan.


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