BEIJING — China’s top economic planner announced on Feb 8 that it will pass down most of its authority to approve transport investment to local officials.
Provincial governments will be authorized to examine and approve feasibility reports for new expressways, some bridges and tunnels, and normal-speed regional railways, according to a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The projects will still need to be recorded by the central government.
The construction of academies and research institutions concerned with transportation will also enjoy the new policy. Rail lines, if mainly funded by China Railway Corp, the country’s railway operator, can be determined by the company itself.
The move is the latest effort by the NDRC to simplify administrative procedures in infrastructure investment, a significant sector for the slowing economy.
China’s fixed-asset investment in transportation last year was 2.85 trillion yuan ($413.95 billion), with more capital expected to be pumped into the sector in the next few years.
The NDRC also noted in the statement that local authorities should not further delegate the power, and said it will channel more energy into transport planning and supervision.