China has put together a five-year transportation infrastructure investment plan that would continue heavy spending on highways, high-speed rail and airports after a record-setting 2022.
The plan would expand expressways under the central government’s purview to 130,000 kilometers by its final year of 2027, up 11% from the end of 2021, adding to what is already the biggest such network in the world. By comparison, the U.S. had about 98,000 km of expressways as of 2020, based on data from the Federal Highway Administration.
China’s high-speed rail network, run as a monopoly by state-owned China State Railway Group, spanned 42,000 km at the end of 2022 – the longest in the world, and 13 times the size of Japan’s shinkansen bullet train network. The five-year plan would expand it by another 26% to 53,000 km in 2027.
More airports will be built as well, bringing the total to around 280 from 254 as of the end of last year.
Nationwide fixed-asset investment in transportation reached a record 3.8 trillion yuan ($537 billion) in 2022 and is set to remain high this year under the five-year plan.
“Transportation infrastructure investment involves large outlays that yield quick economic benefits and can create jobs,” Vice Transport Minister Xu Chengguang said in February. “We’ll expand investment to support an economic turnaround.”