China plans to invest more than 2.8 trillion yuan ($421.68 billion) into railway construction, building no less than 23,000 kilometers of new rail lines during the 13th five-year plan period (2016-2020), the Economic Information Daily reports.
The "medium and long term railway network plan" is aimed at further expanding the country's rail network. It was approved during a State Council meeting on June 29, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
The new plan targets more balanced national rail construction, bringing greater accessibility to more parts of the country. It also aims to build a comprehensive network covering rail, road, water and air transportation.
The country experienced a railway boom during the 12th five-year plan period, with total fixed-asset investment reaching 3.58 trillion yuan and putting 30,500 km of new lines into operation.
According to the new plan, the country will build more than 23,000 km of new railway over the next five years, with a total investment of at least 2.8 trillion yuan.
Wang Mengshu, a Chinese Academy of Engineering academic, told the newspaper China's railway construction was speeding up and driving some related industries, such as metallurgy, machinery, building, computers and precision instruments.
He says railway construction creates many jobs and has enormous significance for sound economic growth and structural adjustment.
It's one of the best options to ward off economic downward pressure, Wang added.