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China cuts spending on railway construction in 2012

(Xinhua)

19:20, December 23, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China is planning to invest 400 billion yuan (629.9 billion U.S. dollars) in railway infrastructure construction next year, railway minister Sheng Guangzu said here Friday.

The investment scale registered a slight decline from the total expenditure of 469 billion yuan this year and a marked decrease from over 700 billion yuan in 2010.

This is the first time for the government to announce a clear goal for future railway development. Railway construction has been almost halted as the government has decided to slow the development of high-speed rail lines after a fatal high-speed train crash that killed 40 people in east China in July.

Total fixed asset investment on railways will reach 500 billion yuan next year, while construction on 6,366 kilometers of new railways is scheduled to be finished, said Sheng at a national conference on railway construction. P But Sheng stressed that rapid railway development should be maintained, as it plays an important role in the country's social and economic development, especially in boosting domestic demand.

Sheng said earlier this year that China is planning to expand its railway network to 120,000 kilometers by the end of 2015.

China's railway projects have been on a binge since the country rolled out a stimulus plan worth four trillion yuan to counter the financial crisis of 2008, which was mostly spent on infrastructure construction.

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