China eyes $724 billion of transport investment over next three years

Blooming flowers are seen along a highway in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China, March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will invest around 4.7 trillion yuan ($724 billion) in transport infrastructure projects over the next three years, the country’s transport ministry said in an article posted on its website late on Wednesday.

The 2016-2018 plan from China’s Ministry of Transport and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will see the country push forward 303 key transportation projects including railways, highways, waterways, airports and urban rail, it said.

The investment splurge underlines China’s reliance on high-levels of public sector spending, credited by economists as being behind recent signs of improvement in the country’s economy, but also as creating a risk as debt levels rise.

The article, posted on the Ministry of Transport’s website, said the investment plan would improve the country’s high-speed transport networks and inter-city links to meet the demands of China’s wider economic and social development.

China’s first quarter investment in infrastructure surged almost 20 percent, as the government looks to transport-related sectors to help support wider economic growth.

The official Xinhua news agency reported earlier this month that China will invest around $12 billion this year in building aviation infrastructure.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Sam Holmes