World Bank supports urban rail development and urban infrastructure improvement in China

Posted: 10 May 2011 | The World Bank | No comments yet

Today the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved two loans to the People’s Republic of China…

Today the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved two loans to the People’s Republic of China...

Today the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved two loans to the People’s Republic of China to help improve mobility and quality of life for the people living in Kunming and part of Sichuan through construction of an urban rail line and provision of road, water and sewerage infrastructure in a number of small towns.

Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan in southwest China, has a population of more than 6 million with about half living in the urban area. With the rapid growth of the city’s extent, population and motorization, the city is now confronting a rapid rise in traffic congestion. In response, the city has planned to complement its extensive bus priority network with an urban rail network. The Kunming Urban Rail Project, funded by a US$300 million loan from the World Bank, will support the construction of the 19.5 km Line 3.

“Though Chinese cities have a lot of experience in successfully building urban rail, we hope this project, the first urban rail project the World Bank is supporting in China, can provide a demonstration of an integrated public transport system,” said Shomik Raj Mendiratta, World Bank Lead Urban Transport Specialist and task team leader for the project. “For the rail line to achieve its objectives, considerable effort will be needed to integrate services, fares and facilities with buses, to provide facilities at stations for cycles, for the city to focus new growth around the stations and for the city to complement the investment in rail with a supportive broader transport policy,” he added.

By developing a light-rail line and associated multi-modal amenities, the project will help Kunming realize its goal of becoming a public transport oriented city, and increase the quality of public transport available for residents. The money will be used to procure equipment for the rail system, vehicles, signal equipment and traction power supply systems, and support capacity building and institutional development focused on the facilitating environment needed to realize the benefits of the rail system.

The World Bank released a study on Urban Rail Development in China: Prospects, Issues and Options in 2010. The Kunming project will provide an opportunity to pilot the recommendations from the study. With China in the midst of a massive boom in urban rail construction, demonstrating the effective principles of coordinated, multi modal public transport and transit oriented development in Kunming also has the potential to be a catalyst for high quality urban rail development all across China.

The other loan of US$100 million was provided to the Sichuan Small Towns Development Project, and will finance infrastructure investments in urban roads, water supply networks, storm and sewerage drainage networks, canal and river embankments, and wastewater treatment, as well capacity building activities to ensure the long term sustainability of the assets created under the project. Residents living in eight small towns and districts in Sichuan, namely Xinjin, Hongya, Pengshan, Miyi, Daying and Zizhong counties, and Jialing and Shunqing districts of Nanchong city, will benefit from the project.

The World Bank and Sichuan Province have worked together to tackle urban environmental challenges and improve living conditions for the urban population. The Sichuan Small Towns Development Project is the third urban project financed by the Bank in the province, following the Sichuan Urban Environment Project and Sichuan Urban Development Project approved in 1999 and 2006 respectively.

“Sichuan Small Towns Development Project will provide about 750,000 people with the better urban infrastructure facilities in project towns and districts, and contribute to the implementation of the national and provincial small town development and urban-rural integration strategy. This project is also the part of the World Bank’s support to Chinese Government’s Western Region Development Plan,” said Ji You, World Bank Urban Specialist and task team leader for the project.

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