Guangzhou to invest 63b yuan in rail network
Mimi Lau in Guangzhou
Guangzhou plans to spend 63 billion yuan (HK$74.58 billion) to expand its railway system in the next five years, the city's reform and development commission says.
A draft plan revealed at the annual meeting of the city's people's congress, which opened yesterday, said it would build three more metro lines - taking its total to 11 - and push ahead with constructing intercity rail links.
It is part of Guangzhou's plan to improve public transport and people's livelihoods in the next five years.
Guangdong party boss Wang Yang said it was time for people in the province - many struggling with high inflation, exorbitant taxes and unaffordable homes - to feel happy and he recently pledged to slow down Guangdong's annual economic growth rate from 12.5 to 8 per cent during the 12th five-year plan.
Speaking at the meeting's opening ceremony yesterday, Guangzhou mayor Wan Qingliang set 10 specific goals for improving people's living standards as the city works to boost residents' incomes, fight inflation and provide more affordable housing. The provincial capital's gross domestic product increased by 13 per cent last year and it is targeting growth of 11 per cent this year.
Guangzhou also plans to alleviate poverty in eight towns and 206 villages in the city's north, aiming to lift average annual incomes to at least 5,000 yuan by next year.
Meanwhile, the city will complete 68,700 low-cost, subsidised homes and begin building another 43,000. By the end of this year, the city government says the scheme should have helped solve the housing problems of 77,177 low-income families who registered with it in 2008.
In expanding the railway system over the next five years, Guangzhou will begin the first-phase construction of its seventh metro line, at a cost of about 7.8 billion yuan, and the first phase of its ninth metro line, at a cost of about 11.3 billion yuan. About 11.4 billion yuan of the funds will come from bank loans. Phase-two construction of the sixth metro line, costing around 11 billion yuan, will also begin by 2013. The city's existing eight-line metro system is not numbered sequentially.
The city will also begin work on the Guangzhou section of an intercity railway linking Dongguan and Shenzhen. Total investment in the Guangzhou section will be 1.5 billion yuan. Another railway linking Guangzhou to Shantou in eastern Guangdong, running for about 250 kilometres and costing 23 billion yuan, will also begin within the next five years. The Guangzhou government is also planning a line in Nansha, linking the district with Jiangmen, Foshan and Zhongshan. The 94-kilometre line will cost 9.2 billion yuan.
Meanwhile, the nation's top planning body in Beijing has approved a high-speed railway project along the coast of western Guangdong, local media reported. The 372-kilometre project - linking northern Shenzhen, Guangzhou's Nansha district, Zhongshan and Jiangmen to Yangjiang and Maoming in western Guangdong - will cost more than 45.8 billion yuan.
Guangzhou plans to build three more metro lines, taking the city's total to this many: 11