China plans major expansion of high-speed rail network

China plans major expansion of high-speed rail network
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China is planning a major expansion of its high-speed rail system by 2020, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The network will increase to 30,000 kilometers, or 18,600 miles, as part of the government’s push to boost economic growth through public infrastructure spending. The system was 19,000 kilometers as of last year.

Vice Transport Minister Yang Yudong said during a briefing on the country's transportation services that China will invest 3.5 trillion yuan, or $504 billion, in railway construction over the next two years.

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The expanded high-speed rail network will connect over 80 percent of China's major cities. The plan will also rebuild expressways and speed up construction of railways that serve less-developed regions in central and western China.

As economic growth has slowed down over the past six years, Chinese officials have ramped up public infrastructure spending. A new high-speed rail line connecting Shanghai and Kunming began operating Wednesday, cutting travel time from 35 hours to 11 hours, according to the AP.

In the U.S., high-speed rail has remained elusive despite $10 billion in federal investments. The project that is closest to being complete could still be a decade away, while only 300 miles on four lines in the U.S. currently have segments capable of operating at 110 miles an hour.

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE, who has lamented that it’s sad that trains in China run up to 300 miles per hour while “we have trains that go chug, chug, chug,” has pledged to deliver a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to Congress within his first 100 days in office.

But Trump has not indicated whether high-speed rail would be a priority nor identified which projects he would like to target with his proposal.