On-off subway project back on track

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 May, 2004, 12:00am

For the second time in a week, Guangzhou officials have vowed to push ahead with the construction of a fifth subway line.

The move comes after state media reports said the city would delay the start of work on the 16-billion-yuan metro line, originally scheduled for late this month, under pressure from local lawmakers worried about debt.

On Wednesday, Guangzhou Metro Corporation general manager Lu Guanglin said: 'Barring unforeseen circumstances, construction of a test section of subway No5 will begin this month in preparation for full-scale construction.'

The news conference was also attended by officials from the city's Development Commission, Planning Bureau and Construction Commission. The high-profile endorsement of the plan contrasts with the central government's cautious approach to such projects.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Bank-sponsored conference on poverty yesterday, the deputy director of the comprehensive planning department of the Ministry of Communications, Li Xinghua , said he had not specifically heard any news about the Guangzhou metro.

'Given the current macro-economic environment, urban railway transport projects are within the scope of state control,' he said. In Guangzhou, a government source said the city 'will have counter-measures to deal with the central government's policy'.