China 2018 transport infrastructure spending to be similar to 2017: state media

A man rides a tricycle past vehicles through a junction in Beijing, December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will invest a similar amount next year on transportation infrastructure as it did in 2017, with projects to include 5,000 km of new expressways, state media reported on Monday.

The planned investments, which also include renovation of 216,000 km of roads and increasing volumes at China’s container ports by more than 15 percent, were outlined at a Ministry of Transport conference, the People’s Daily newspaper reported.

China has spent 2.12 trillion yuan ($323 billion) in the first 11 months of 2017, according to government data, slightly off pace to meet an investment target of 2.6 trillion yuan set at the beginning of the year.

The transport ministry also said at the conference it would look to speed up the construction of logistics hubs and inland waterways, build more roads to reach rural areas, and look to push ahead of schedule projects such as the integration of Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin by improving road and rail links.

Infrastructure investment is expected to be among the biggest drivers of China’s economic growth in coming years.

The statistics bureau said last month China’s fixed-asset investment growth could quicken following a deceleration in January-October. It did not specify a time period.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Tom Hogue