On May 20, 2010, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a loan of US$100 million to the People's Republic of China to help improve urban transport in four medium-sized cities in Anhui Province.
Anhui province is located in the lower Yangtze delta and has a population of 66.8 million, of which more than a third lives in its cities. Under the "Rise of Central China" initiative during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010), Anhui Province has formulated its own vision of "grasping opportunities to strive towards development" based on the twin pillars of urbanization and industrialization. Infrastructure development is a key to achieving this vision.
The Anhui Medium Cities Urban Transport Project will be implemented in four medium-sized cities of Anqing, Huaibei, Luan and Wuhu. All four cities have strong industrial bases and have seen strong double-digit GDP growth in recent years. Urban transport infrastructure is part of the substantial program of infrastructure construction of these cities to sustain and increase their economic development.
The project consists of four components: (i) Integrated Corridor Development Component to improve the capacity, public transport service and traffic safety of key corridors; (ii) Local and Freight Access Component to construct selected access roads; (iii) Public Transport Component to construct maintenance facilities, bus terminals, bus depots and stops; and (iv) Capacity Building Component to support training and technical assistance related to the project components.
"These cities are facing the challenge of building infrastructure amidst a move towards a low-carbon economy and in a manner consistent with national priorities on public transport and people-centered development," said Shomik Raj Mendiratta, Senior Transport Specialist of the World Bank in charge of the project. "The World Bank financed project demonstrates an integrated corridor approach to improving mobility and safety– focusing on a key transport corridor in each city and combining road capacity enhancements with improvements to traffic safety, public transport service and facilities, and overall management. Successful demonstrations could provide models for cities across Anhui and China that are facing similar challenges."
The total project investment is US$203 million. This is the fourth transport project supported by the World Bank in Anhui Province since 1999.