BEIJING — A senior official on Sept 8 called for varied funding models for urban rail infrastructure projects to ease the financial burden on local governments.
“It’s an irresistible trend to diversify funding sources for these projects,” Hu Zucai, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a forum.
Until now, 43 rail infrastructure projects have been approved with a total length of 8,600 kilometers. It is estimated that investment in such projects will exceed 300 billion yuan (around $45 billion) annually, which will be a heavy burden on local government budgets.
Hu noted that positive changes have taken place in recent years, as a variety of fundraising models emerged, including “rail plus property,” “rail plus community” and “rail plus town” development models.
He said mainland cities should learn from Hong Kong’s experience in the field, where the “rail plus property” development model has proved successful.
The “rail plus property” model means one entity develops both rail and property. Future revenues from property compensate for the construction costs of building rail.