China ramps up transport investment to bolster economy
Updated: September 29, 2022 07:14 Xinhua

BEIJING — From building new expressways to renovating shipping channels, China has been briskly expanding and upgrading its transport networks this year in an effort to drive up investment and boost development.

On Aug 30, a new expressway passage linking Yetimbulak township and Ruoqiang county in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region opened to traffic, becoming the third expressway connecting the region with outside locations.

The construction of an underwater tunnel that will form part of a highway bridge linking South China's Shenzhen and Zhongshan achieved landmark progress a week ago, with 30 of its 32 immersed tubes successfully connected. And a container terminal project at Shanghai's Yangshan port has passed expert review and will break ground at the end of October.

The construction of major transport projects has advanced smoothly this year, which has effectively shored up investment, Shu Chi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport, said at a press conference on Sept 28.

Fixed-asset investment in the transport sector grew 6.6 percent from a year ago in the January-August period, climbing to 2.34 trillion yuan (about $329 billion) and underpinning economic recovery in the face of mounting challenges at home and abroad.

Breaking down the data, investment in road construction saw a robust increase of 9.5 percent year-on-year to hit 1.77 trillion yuan in the period. The construction of expressways and highways totaling 8,100 kilometers in length was completed this year, with another 7,400 kilometers breaking ground.

Railway construction and waterway construction respectively received 402.8 billion yuan and 99.7 billion yuan in investment, and capital totaling 67.1 billion yuan flowed into the civil aviation sector.

With a stable growth momentum, transport investment will play a positive role in expanding effective investment, creating job opportunities and stabilizing the economy, analysts said.

As the foundations of economic recovery still need to be consolidated, the government has stepped up its work to boost investment in transport projects and broader infrastructure construction.

The State Council decided at an executive meeting in June to raise up to 300 billion yuan through financial bond issuance for capital replenishment for major projects, and it was announced at another meeting in August that 300-plus billion yuan would be added to the program. Earlier this month, the State Council urged relevant entities to make good use of the 500 billion yuan of the special government bond quota accumulated since 2019 to support infrastructure construction.

With strengthened policy support, infrastructure investment has been gaining steam. In particular, 102 major projects introduced for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) are being pushed forward in the country at an accelerated pace.

In the future, more will be done to increase transport investment further, Shu said at the press conference on Sept 28, citing efforts to fully implement preferential measures, give full play to various types of financial instruments, and focus on fixing short links in transport networks.

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