The transport ministry is considering a plan to spend 5 trillion yuan ($730 billion) on road and port infrastructure projects over the next three to five years, in a bid to stimulate domestic demand, the Shanghai-based China Business News reported yesterday.
An anonymous source with the ministry was quoted as saying that the massive spending was being considered as "such investment can produce an immediate effect (on domestic demand)".
The 5 trillion yuan figure includes funds the government had already earmarked for highway construction projects, the report said.
The investment is part of the government's target to have 95 percent of all towns and 80 percent of all villages linked by a national road network by the end of 2020.
By 2010, China's expressways will stretch 65,000 km, up from 45,400 km at the end of last year, according to earlier government forecasts.
Transport ministry spokesman Ke Linchun told China Daily yesterday that although additional spending on infrastructure is being considered, the size of the investment has yet to be agreed.
The government made similarly large investments in the years following the 1998 Asian financial crisis to counter the effects of the regional slump.
Zhang Wenjie, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, said yesterday that while he welcomed the extra spending on highway projects, a more pressing requirement was the development of the nation's ports and docks.
"This area deserves a much larger proportion of the spending, as we still lag a long way behind developed countries in terms of numbers," he said.
As well as the proposed new investment, on Oct 24, the State Council approved 2 trillion yuan for the construction of a series of railway projects to help boost economic growth amid the worldwide financial crisis.
As well as creating jobs in construction, the projects will be good news for the nation's steel and cement industries.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.