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  • Workers at a construction site of the Zhangjiakou South railway station in Hebei, China, Dec. 14, 2018.

    Workers at a construction site of the Zhangjiakou South railway station in Hebei, China, Dec. 14, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 December 2018

China's macroeconomic management agency approved urban railway projects aimed at promoting tourism.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Wednesday it approved new urban railway projects worth US$43.28 billion.

The projects include six subway lines and three inter-city railways with a total estimated length of 286.1 kilometers, the NDRC said in a statement.

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One of these projects will connect Hangzhou, a city part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis and Huangshan, a mountain city popular among tourists. A train capable of traveling at 265 kilometers per hour will connect the two points.

In the early 20th century, a round trip from Huizhou to Hangzhou took about 13 days. In 2006, when a highway was built between these cities, the commute travel was reduced to less than 4 hours.

"Once opened, the travel time by train from Hangzhou to Huangshan will be cut from 3.5 hours to 1.5 hours, making it a more efficient choice for commuters and tourists," according to The Shine newspaper.  

The NDRC, a macroeconomic management agency under the Chinese State Council, has broad administrative and planning control over the Chinese economy. Its main functions are to formulate policies for economic and social development as well as to guide the restructuration of the country's economic system.

Current transportation infrastructure projects are part of China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), which aims at closing development gaps between the countryside and cities.

Chinese planners are fostering private investments and opportunities in trans-regional infrastructure, city cluster connectivity, and urban-rural development. Following these 13th Five-Year Plan "three strategies," authorities seek to facilitate a new process of nation-wide urbanization, which is called "The 300-Million-People Urbanization."

By building high-density rail networks, intensifying the construction of railway lines, and accelerating the development of intercity networks, China wants to promote the settlement of about 100 million rural migrants in cities and towns; to renovate shanty towns and urban ghettos that are currently housing another 100 million people; and to guide an orderly urbanization in central and western areas for 100 million people.

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