Shanghai is set to become a greener, cleaner and better place to live this year with a massive investment of 55 billion yuan (US$6.65 billion) in 36 different projects.
The ambitious scheme, representing 25 percent of Shanghai's total 2003 fixed-assets investment, was revealed Wednesday by top officials.
Xiong Jianping, director-general of the Municipal Construction and Management Commission, said that the most important project was the afforestation of 2,610 hectares.
The city allocated 50.4 billion yuan (US$6.09 billion) to similar projects last year, with the most important being the first phase of the rehabilitation of Suzhou Creek.
By the end of 2003, the city's green spaces will increase from 30 to 35 percent, an increase in per capita terms from 7.6 to nine square meters, meeting the requirement of a national garden city and improving the city's environment for living and investment alike.
The environmental projects, together with other schemes in the education, medical care, sports and cultural fields, account for 9 percent of the city's total budget.
Xiong said over half of the total investment will be spent on improving the city's transport infrastructure.
The 113-kilometer-long Pudong Railway will link the under-construction Yangshan Port, Pudong International Airport and the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu.
All the rail projects planned for the first five years of this century will start this year, increasing the city's total amount of railway lines from 65 to 125 kilometers.
Lupu Bridge, the Outer-Ring Tunnel and Dalian Lu Tunnel will be put into operation, adding 18 more lanes to the current 26 lanes, which will benefit river-crossing traffic.
About 300 kilometers of expressways will be built this year, including projects such as the A5, A9 and A30.
"This infrastructure will significantly enhance the city's service functions and provide solid support to the development of new and existing industries," said Vice-Mayor Yang Xiong.
The key projects also include a series of industrial projects in the areas of integrated circuits, chemicals and electricity generation.
Zhuyuan Sewage Treatment Plant will be completed along with several irrigation projects in order to improve the city's environment.
Pipelines at the first phase of the West-East gas transmission project will be connected and the Shanghai International Circuit will be completed this year.
"Construction of these key projects is vital in order to enhance the city's attractiveness and competitiveness," Yang said.
"But long-term management of these projects is more important than their initial construction."
(China Daily March 13, 2003)