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Monday, 27 April 2015

Road-Building Rage To Leave U.S. In Dust - China Real Time Report - WSJ

Associated Press
China’s road-building has surpassed even its own ambitious plans. The Ministry of Transport said Tuesday that construction of twelve national highways has been completed 13 years ahead of schedule. Another eight highways in western China are almost complete, as well, it said.
The massive buildup of China’s highways will soon leave the U.S., the originator of the national highway system, in the dust.

European Pressphoto Agency
A picture made available 25 August 2010 shows traffic jam up on the National Highway 207 in Wanquan county in north China’s Hebei Province that saw cars and trucks queuing up for 100 kilometers. China has built stunning 33,000 kilometers in the past five years, according to statistics released by country’s transport ministry on Tuesday, although some critics say building more highways may only encourage more traffic.
Expressways in China now total 74,000 kilometers, or 46,000 miles, the ministry says–just a thousand miles short of the U.S. interstate system, according to U.S. government data. China has said that by 2020, China hopes to have about 85,000 kilometers of national expressways–a target that it will likely reach before the date, since it has already built 90% of the total.
Spending on transportation infrastructure has helped power the Chinese economy’s growth, especially as roads develop local economies and minimize time and effort for trade.
And the government is putting money where its mouth is. In the past five years, the Transport Ministry spent 4.7 trillion yuan ($713 billion) on road and water transportation–more than double the sum of the annual expenditures listed in U.S. Department of Transportation’s budget reports for the same time period.
The speed of China’s buildup is also impressive, especially in recent years. It has built the majority of its expressways in the past decade and built 33,000 kilometers in the past five years. The U.S. Interstate system, in contrast, was built over more than three decades, starting from 1958 and lasting until 1991.
It’s not all good news, of course. China is already the largest auto market in the world and more highways will encourage more cars. And not all the places that need new roads have been getting them quickly enough: Congestion in major cities is a growing problem–especially in Beijing, which experienced an epic jam in August that at times stretched 100 kilometers. The Beijing city government has said it will limit new license plates to 240,000 this year in a city that hosts about 4.7 million vehicles.
High highway tolls, and a recent rise in prices, are also angering the public and limiting usage. “These are problems that deserve attention,” acknowledged Weng Mengyong, vice minister of transport, who said that the ministry has canceled tolls on close to 90,000 kilometers of highway. But he also offered a friendly reminder: “If there were no tolls, there would be no development of the transport system in China.”
Cathy Yan


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I have traveled far and wide and lived in South Africa, the UK and Malaysia. 

I am a technical person that never forgets anything. Recalling it at the right time though is a struggle.

I have always worked with IBM technologies and worked for them for many years. I now do my best to migrate people away from IBM technologies.


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