Construction could defy official order to stop pouring money into infrastructure Work started on a test section of Guangzhou's fifth subway line at the weekend, but local media outlets were told not to report the news. A source close to the Guangzhou Metro Corporation said the site of the test section was known to only a few of the company's top leaders. An officer from the subway company's news bureau declined to comment on the work. The section was known as a test section because the project had yet to be approved by the central government, subway officials said. Guangzhou has little space left to build roads and plans to build a subway line every year. It also has made a big effort to attract investment in the car sector, so it needs to clear the roads for private cars. It has obtained approval for only three subways, but work has also started on Subway No4. Subways No4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 14 were submitted to the central government for approval as a package, but it is not clear if they have been approved. Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences economist Cheng Jiansan said Guangzhou did need a mass-transit system, but this demand had to be weighed against prudent use of government funds. 'The problem is the funds are coming from the government and banks. They have not considered other channels of raising funds for building subways. They only think about going to the banks,' Professor Cheng said. He said Guangzhou could not afford to build one subway a year if it had only a single source of funding. Going ahead with construction could be seen as defying a central government order to stop pouring money into infrastructure projects, but Professor Cheng said he did not think the situation would be that serious. 'If they decide to go ahead, I am sure the planning commission will be able to convince the central government to let them do it. Besides, I don't think the central government will apply the policy across the board. They will consider it case by case,' he said. Sun Yat-sen University urban and regional studies lecturer Zhou Suhong said it would be a pity to stop construction now, with only two lines completed. 'It's only when there is a network that the subway system can be effective. If we stop now, it will be a waste of the investment,' she said. But Professor Zhou warned that Guangzhou's plans to build a network covering 200km by 2010 might be too ambitious.