Profitable or Not, China Doubles Down on Investments in New Metro Systems

Shanghai Metro

» Central government approves 25 new rail projects in cities across the country, worth hundreds of billions of dollars of new construction.

With China’s growth slowing — a product of internal economic changes as well as the continued poor performance of the U.S. and Europe — the country’s government has decided to accelerate investments in its cities’ rapid transit networks as part of a larger transportation infrastructure program. About $127 billion (or 800 billion yuan) is to be directed over the next three to eight years to build 25 subways and elevated rail lines as a stimulus whose major benefit will be a increase in mobility for the rapidly urbanizing nation.

Though China’s high-speed rail network (now the largest in the world) has garnered most of the headlines when it comes to transportation there, the nation’s investments in urban rail have been just as dramatic and serve far more people

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In China’s High-Speed Successes, a Glimpse of American Difficulties

Shanghai Hongqiao

» With political figures failing to account for the long-term interests of their constituents, the U.S. continues down its confused path.

The opening of the new $32.5 billion Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link this week marked a significant milestone in the world effort to improve intercity rail systems. Though the development of fast train networks in China has not been without its failings, the connection of the nation’s two largest metropolitan regions — the tenth and nineteenth-largest in the world — is a human achievement of almost unparalleled proportions, especially since it was completed a year earlier than originally planned and just three years after construction began. It comes as the Chinese government celebrates its 90th anniversary.

With ninety daily trains traveling the 819-mile link at average speeds of up to 165 mph, the corridor will likely soon become the most-used high-speed intercity rail connection in the world. Because of safety concerns,

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Hong Kong’s Expanding Metro a Model of Development-Funded Transit

Hong Kong and Shenzhen Metros

» New extensions in central Hong Kong will be mostly funded by development around future stations.

As one of the densest places on earth, it is no surprise that Hong Kong is a transit city, with over 90% of journeys made by public transportation. This concentration ensures high ridership on the city’s extensive MTR metro system. Yet it also increases the cost of line expansions, since building new projects in places that are already packed with people necessitates the creation of tunnels and requires expensive environmental and social remediation.

Hong Kong, however, is going about constructing new projects at a steady pace. At the end of last month, the MTR transit agency approved the construction of the 4.3-mile South Island Line, which will provide service to Aberdeen and other sections of the south side of Hong Kong Island. In addition, the agency will complete a

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China Agrees to Major Investments in Argentina’s Rail and Metro Lines

Cordoba Argentina

» $10 billion spending spree will improve transit in Cordoba and improve branch railway lines. China expects to improve trade relations and open access to natural resources.

Expanding its effort to use infrastructure investments to spread its influence, the Chinese government has agreed to a $10 billion commitment to upgrade a series of intercity rail lines in Argentina and improve urban transit systems in Buenos Aires and Cordoba. Funds come from the China Development Bank and will require a 15% match from the Argentinian government.

This money will not contribute to to the construction of the Buenos Aires-Rosario high-speed line, a separate and currently delayed project.

The effort suggests not only that China is willing and able to contribute its national funds to foreign projects, but also that it intends to structure its investments as an alternative to the World Bank, a grant-making institution that since World War II has

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Sydney Looks at Closing Downtown Streets to Traffic, Considers Light Rail Expansion

Sydney Light Rail Extension Plan

» George Street in the CBD would see cars removed, transit inserted. Meanwhile, with Metro plans now axed, light rail to the Inner West is being pursued.

Following what is becoming a worldwide trend, officials in Australia’s New South Wales government, working with the Sydney city council, are considering plans to pedestrianize George Street, a primary corridor in the city’s central business district. The proposal, which has yet to be fully detailed, may also include a light rail connection along the route. The scheme coincides with the government’s release of a draft study detailing a potential extension of the 4.5-mile existing light rail line southwest to Lewisham and Dulwich Hill.

This plan for the elimination of automobiles from one of Sydney’s most prominent streets has yet to be approved and may be dismantled if the current government falls out of power after elections later this year.

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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