Skip to comments.China: Expressways of Excess (vast overbuilding of transportation infrastructure)
Posted on 11/04/2011 5:57:03 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
By staff reporter Yue Zhen 10.31.2011 18:38
Expressways of Excess
Lu Dadao has long warned about the risks of highway, railway and airport overbuilding, and now people are listening
"Excessive." That's the word Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) academic and National Planning Expert Committee member Lu Dadao uses to describe the scope and pace of transportation-related construction projects in China.
In a recent interview with Caixin, 71-year-old Lu repeated his long-held concerns about the nation's vast transportation building program, referring specifically to a critical report written by a research team he headed and submitted to the central government one year ago.
At that time, Lu said he "faced great pressure" in part because Liu Zhijun was still serving as the nation's powerful minister of railways. Liu was sacked for alleged corruption in February, and his push to build bullet trains was discredited by a deadly collision in July.
The report Lu cited stemmed from a June 2010 initiative by the CAS Faculty Advisory Committee, which issued a report called Recommendations for Avoiding Excessive Transportation Construction in China.
The report's authors argued that sizeable investments in the nation's transportation sector since 1997 had created excess capacity. The gap between supply and demand became even more prominent after the 2008 global financial crisis prompted the Chinese government to push for even more building projects through a 4 trillion yuan economic stimulus package.
Lu and the report's other authors were finally heard after the July 23 collision of two, high-speed trains near Wenzhou killed 40 people. The tragedy prompted the State Council to order a cool-off for bullet train expansion.
The nation's experience with high-speed railways has become a touchstone for reflecting and adjusting to what's been called a perilous "great leap" for transportation development.
(Excerpt) Read more at english.caixin.cn ...
And good luck with all of that substandard concrete and rebar.
We used to have money for public works. Then, we embarked on free trade and now the Chinese have all our money. Boy, is our government stupid!
Stimulus to nowhere.
We shouldn’t have “public works” to begin with. Infrastructure construction ought to be entirely privatized.
It would be an interesting debate to decide which lasted longer: the virtues of the Roman Republic or the American Republic.
China created the greatest freeway system in the world after the US to knit a growing nation together and to ease travel around a country in which prior to the 1980s, few people ever left their village. Its the concrete expression of China’s ditching of Maoism, with the ideological belief China should remain poor and equal than rich and powerful. Yes, the Communist Party is the ultimate power. But there is a vast and growing Chinese middle class and the question is when not if China will someday transition to democratic rule. This can’t be rushed.
When I was a college freshman back in 1963, my economics professor waxed long and poetic about the amazing economic development of the USSR under their enlightened communist system. Then in the 1980’s, we were told how the brilliant Japanese were buying up America and would dominate the world of the future.
Both examples show the value of predictions, but I will make one anyway. In 20 years, China will be an economic basket case. By then, the US will have passed through a dark time of violence and chaos and will have re-emerged as the worlds moral and economic leader.
Somewhere, Willie Green softly weeps.
I’ve been to mainland China several times over the years as a tourist. On each return, I was impressed by the new modern highways and traffic interchanges in and near the large cities. They may have overdone it with some of the high speed train lines but, I don’t think the roads and bridges are excessive.
Good surface transportation is important for business development. It gets goods to railheads and ports. We tourists like good roads as we spend a lot of time on buses. I also have been to India and its roads are very bad. Little is being done in India to keep up or build roads. They are letting the good train system the British built for them decline too. India will have trouble growing its economy without good roads and rails.
LOL. That’s a bad thing?
We need a James J. Hill and something similar to the development of the Great Northern Railway.