Five-year plan project to connect rural areas part of effort to eradicate poverty
A network of more than 1.4 million kilometers of roads connecting rural areas is expected to be completed by the end of this year as an important means to eradicate poverty across China, Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng said on Thursday.
According to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), a 1 million-km network was scheduled to be built from 2016 to 2020. By September, nearly 1.39 million km of the network had been completed, exceeding the plan, Li said at a news conference.
During the plan period, the central government was expected to invest more than 950 billion yuan ($142 billion) to build roads in rural areas. The money accounts for about 68 percent of the revenue from the country's vehicle purchase tax, Li said.
"The rural road network has made accomplishments, bringing popularity and wealth to the countryside, especially the poor areas, and also building public support for the Party at the grassroots level," Li said.
He said 99.61 percent of villages have access to asphalt roads, and 99.38 percent of villages have access to buses.
In addition, postal services covering poor areas have also been built to help win the poverty-eradication battle. Ma Junsheng, head of the State Post Bureau, said about 36,000 villages did not have direct access to postal services before 2016, with most of them in poor areas. Since August last year, postal services have covered all 556,000 villages in China.
China's transportation sector has made strides in the past, Li said, with the length of high-speed railways, freeways and urban rail networks all ranking top in the world.
The total railway network, excluding urban rail, has reached 146,000 km, connecting 99 percent of cities with populations of more than 200,000. The high-speed railway network alone has reached 38,000 km, connecting 95 percent of cities with populations of more than 1 million.
China's total road network has reached 5.1 million km. The highway network has reached 155,000 km, connecting 98.6 percent of cities with more than 200,000 people.
From 2016 to the end of this year, China is expected to achieve 16 trillion yuan of fixed asset investment in transportation.
Large-scale transport projects, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Beijing Daxing International Airport, were built, marking significant progress in the nation's technology development and its ability to handle transportation infrastructure projects.