The Rise of Public-Private Partnerships in China
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China’s economic takeoff and rapid urbanization in recent decades have been accompanied by the dazzling growth of the nation’s infrastructure system. Take the transportation sector as an example. China’s total expressway mileage had reached a staggering 131,000 km by 2016, expanding from merely 20.4 km in 1988 when the first stretch of expressway was completed around Shanghai City (Zaobao 2017). Railroads in operation increased from 22,900 km in 1952 to 124,000 km in 2016, including more than 22,000 km of high-speed rail that moves sleek passenger trains between China’s major urban centers at speeds that clock in at over 200 km/h (Xinhua Net 2017a). In China’s current subway boom, not only are megacities like Beijing and Shanghai actively adding new lines and extensions, smaller Chinese cities are also racing toward opening their first subway lines. During 2012–2016, the number of cities with subway in operation increased from 17 to 27, with the total ridership climbing from 8.7 billion unlinked passenger trips to about 16.1 billion (Xinhua Net 2017b).
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