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China to Build 180,000 Km Rural Highways in 2006
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China will build 180,000 kilometers in rural highways in 2006, Li Shenglin, minister of communications, said in Beijing on Sunday.

At a yearly national communications meeting, Li said these would be mainly built along old revolutionary bases, border areas, poor areas and major grain producing areas.

According to the ministry's plan, all administrative villages in China will be connected by highways by the end of 2010.

Local transportation departments should give favorable policies and financial support to rural highway construction, he said.

The ministry has been working hard on building a bus network in rural areas, Li said. "Building highways in rural areas would be most beneficial to farmers."

The ministry's statistics show China has 630,000 kilometers of rural highways, twice the total length built in the 53 years since New China was founded in 1949.

However, roads in many rural areas are still very bad, and building highways for all of China's villages has proven difficult because construction requires money, technology and support from local governments.

Li said the ministry would try its best to build highways over existing roads and not farmland.

(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2006)

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