Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse in South China, will accelerate development of the intercity railway network in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to help boost the local economy, Governor Ma Xingrui said.
“We will begin construction of a series of intercity railway projects connecting major cities within the Greater Bay Area this year,” Ma said in his government work report to the annual session of the provincial people’s congress, which opened in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, on Sunday.
Ma said construction of projects connecting cities including Shenzhen, Huizhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Zhuhai will begin this year.
“Also, we will push forward connections of subways in the Pearl River Delta,” Ma said, adding that the idea is to make it possible for every city in the region to be reachable within one hour.
Connecting infrastructure in the Bay Area, including intercity railways, has contributed to the province’s economic development over the past few years, he said.
Guangdong has set a goal of increasing its GDP by more than 6 percent this year, according to the work report.
“The quality of Guangdong’s economy has been greatly improved following its development of technological innovation and construction of a series of large infrastructure projects within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” Ma said.
Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for the province’s foreign trade industry, Guangdong’s GDP grew 2.3 percent last year to more than 11 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion), data from the work report showed.
The province’s economy grew by an annual average of 6 percent from 2015 to 2020, Ma said.
Deputies at the meeting said acceleration of the intercity railway network in the Bay Area will boost the province’s social and economic development.
“Development of the intercity railway network in the Bay Area is far behind its global counterparts,” said Lyu Guolin, deputy Party chief of the Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center.
Lyu said the length of intercity railway in the Bay Area is 404 kilometers, while Tokyo has 2,975 km and New York 8,557 km.
“We need to optimize the railway network in the Greater Bay Area by increasing the speed of the current railways and planning new routes,” he said.