Real Concepts' China Series
Just a few final notes on China's infrastructure and then, I'll drop it. I promise.
Automobile traffic has doubled in Beijing over the last three years in the city's two prime business districts. One thousand cars are joining the road race daily (should we assume all new drivers?) The Chinese are moving to the urban centers at a breakneck pace, all searching for a piece of the newfound wealth of their nation. Beijing is bearing up under the pressure of moving the growing masses with an impressive transporation system.
The transportation infrastructure being put in place now for the Olympics is needed as part of Beijing's overall long-term development.
The new highways all over China and particularly Beijing (52 new roads around various Olympic venues) will be eaten up quickly with the staggering rate that cars are being added to the urban landscape. Not enough road bandwidth for a new generation of road warriors.
Knowing the value of transport-related infrastructure, not only for the Olympics but for the people-moving business required by commerce, Beijing pressed the same "GO" button on the following projects that got the job done on the airport and the Olympic venues:
- Seven Metro Lines.
- A new subway line linking the downtown business district with the airport which incorporates the Capital International Airport into the general Metro system.
- Light-rail transit system.
- Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway line (high-speed passenger and cargo heavy-load line) which will cut the rail transport from 10 to 5 hours.
- Beijing-Tianjim high-speed rail link representing another 50% reduction in travel time between the two cities.
- Rail link between Beijing and Shenzhen.
A side benefit - the transportation infrastructure development is spurring office and retail adjacent to new subway stations, not related to the Olympics.
Big Bang Theory
So what happens when all this new infrastructure and new construction reach their critical maintenance points? Much of it will mature at the same time. Will there be plans in place to secure the future of all these structures, airports, and rails?
Facing our own aging infrastructure woes in the U.S. makes this a poignant question. When the money is flowing freely the building continues. It is a future generation and government administration that will have to deal with the question of aging rail systems and roadways. But for now they're bright and shiny, a gleaming example of the best of high tech engineering.
Maybe "Big Bang" is too strong a term. Perhaps the most realistic expectation is a slow burn. But who wants to think about that when everything is so fresh, rich, and ready for the coming out party? Would the press give any coverage to a reserve fund for infrastructure maintenance? Get out of town!
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