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China Needs $118 Billion to Build High-Speed Rail Lines That Cut Pollution

China, the world’s most populous nation, needs about 800 billion yuan ($118 billion) to complete high-speed rail projects as the country invests in train services to pare pollution and travel times.

The funds will help pay for the construction of 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) of high-speed lines by 2012, Ministry of Railways’ Chief Economist Yu Bangli told reporters in Beijing today. The ministry is also investigating the formation of an industrial fund, he said, without elaborating.

China may surpass plans to build 16,000 kilometers of high- speed track by 2020 as new lines help spur economic growth, Li Jun director of the general division of the ministry’s Transport department said. The country last year completed projects totaling 600 billion yuan that consumed 20 million tons of steel and 120 million tons of cement, according to the ministry.

Work on a 221 billion yuan bullet-train line linking Beijing and Shanghai began earlier this month, according to state-run Xinhua News. The ministry will attempt to open the track before a 2012 deadline, Chief Engineer He Huawu said.

The Ministry of Railways is also organizing a group of local companies to bid for a high-speed rail contract in Brazil, said Chief Planner Zheng Jian. Chinese trainmakers have previously won orders in countries including Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yidi Zhao in Beijing at yzhao7@bloomberg.net

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