China has reserved infrastructure projects worth 800 billion yuan


China's Ministry of Transport said on Thursday that a preliminary reserve of infrastructure projects worth a total investment of 800 billion yuan (113.45 billion U.S. dollars) ) has been completed and construction of them will start as soon as funds are secured.

In December 2019, the ministry announced its 2020 infrastructure investment plan: to invest 800 billion yuan in the railway system, 1.8 trillion yuan in highways and waterways, and another 90 billion yuan in the civil aviation.

According to the ministry, the investment in fixed assets of transportation was 379.2 billion yuan in the first quarter, down by 22.5 percent year-on-year, mainly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The epidemic hammered the transportation industry. The main transportation indicators on national level have all dropped sharply, and passenger traffic has fallen off a cliff, with a drop of more than 50 percent. 

In the first quarter, the commercial transport system served 1.85 billion passengers, a decrease of 58.4 percent year-on-year. The passenger traffic of public transport in 36 central cities across the country was 6.74 billion, down by 56.7 percent year-on-year. Port cargo throughput and container throughput also declined year-on-year. The scale of transportation investment has dropped significantly.

Transport companies are generally facing losses, and railway passenger services are seriously affected. In the first quarter, more than 90 percent of road services companies are in a loss state. Most water transportation operators have suspended shipping services. Civil aviation companies suffered a total loss of 24.59 billion yuan in February, setting a new monthly loss record.

"The adverse effects brought by the epidemic are gradually being resolved, and the economy of the transportation industry is moving towards a normal track," said Wu Chungeng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Transport. 

The Ministry of Transport is accelerating the resumption of transportation and production. 

"In March, the fixed asset investment of transportation was 202.6 billion yuan, recovering to the level of 93.3 percent in the same period last year, increased by 53.3 percentage points from February. Up to now, the work resumption of 625 key transportation construction projects has exceeded 97 percent," Wu said.

With the outbreak getting under control domestically, China has made efforts to uphold transport enterprises to get through the setbacks brought on by the epidemic. 

The Finance Ministry said on Thursday that China will increase subsidies for small- and medium-sized airports.

The government will raise subsidies by 50 percent for airports that cross the two million passenger throughput mark for the first time, said a statement jointly released by the Finance Ministry and Civil Aviation Administration.