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China Government The Almighty Buck Transportation Technology

China's Yearly Budget For High-Speed Rail: $100 Billion 230

Posted by timothy
from the just-your-opinion-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For all of those wondering about China's massive high speed rail network, it costs some serious cash. Running high speed lines across the nation is expensive — to the tune of $100 billion dollars a year. This covers the cost to maintain the network, build it, and pay all of the staff. The problem is, corruption has reared its ugly head. The network itself has had its share of problems, with people dying as a result. There is also the problem that many of Chinese poor make so little money they can't afford to ride it. The sad fact is that so much money is being spent, no one can even keep count."
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China's Yearly Budget For High-Speed Rail: $100 Billion

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @11:14PM (#41712347)

    This New Yorker article [newyorker.com] might add to the context of corruption and where the money is going.

  • by curunir (98273) * on Friday October 19, 2012 @11:22PM (#41712383) Homepage Journal

    Where's the scandal?!

    $100B divided by 2 million employees equals $50,000 per employee -- high for China, maybe, but matches the MEDIAN male income in the U.S.

    You should read the linked article [newyorker.com] (not the link from the story, but one linked from it.) The scale of the corruption seems to be reaching epidemic proportions. The story lists the yearly salary of the #2 official in the railway ministry as being $19k/yr and yet had a fortune over $100m. Another associate of the head of the railway ministry built a ~$700m business through bribes and kickbacks. The workers are, no doubt, being paid less than $1k/yr. Redo your calculations based on that and you'll find just how much money has gone missing. It's very common for officials that have been caught to have been found with tens of millions of dollars worth of bribes. One of the biggest impediments for these officials isn't actually accepting the bribes but, instead, finding a place to store all the cash since the largest bill in circulation is a 100 yuan note worth ~$16. It's gotten so bad that bribes are now commonly made in gift cards since they're able to store value more densely.

    Read the story...it's really shocking.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday October 19, 2012 @11:46PM (#41712469) Journal

    "The network itself has had its share of problems, with people dying as a result." : This happens everywhere.

    Not like this it doesn't: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wenzhou_train_collision [wikipedia.org]
    Here's a picture of the accident scene: http://i.imgur.com/YJAAA.jpg [imgur.com]

    There was a string of preventable events, from the lowliest track worker to the people that designed the control systems, which led up to the accident.
    The Chinese Government tried to throw a blanket over the whole event, but the public outrage forced a review of the events.
    /The USA actually has a lot of rail accidents, with injuries, but almost no one dies.

  • by philpalm (952191) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @12:09AM (#41712545)
    They link to the New Yorker's article: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/22/121022fa_fact_osnos?currentPage=all [newyorker.com] Corruption is continuing in China, but it will take a major reform/progressive movement to stop it all. The New Yorker is mainly on the railroad budget and you will have to go elsewhere to find dirt on the PLA's progress/threat.
  • by Chibi Merrow (226057) <mrmerrow@monkeyi ... SD.net minus bsd> on Saturday October 20, 2012 @03:50PM (#41716335) Homepage Journal

    You guys in the states have spent decades building cities that are just too spread out for their own good. Sooner or later you are going to have to build more cities like New York where you have an incredibly high population density. Then you can build a decent mass transit system that takes people most of the way, then lets them walk the remaining few hundred yards.

    The reason our cities are generally low-density is that there's just so God damned much empty space in the U.S. I'm guessing you're from Europe, as it seems common for Europeans to not appreciate just how far apart the cities are in the U.S. Heck, I've watched the sun rise and set before I finished crossing Texas alone...

    Mass transit is not sensible for 95% of the U.S. There are areas it does make sense (the megalopolises on the east and west coasts, for instance) but it would never work in the spaces between them. And those megalopolises are losing population as people move to less densely populated, less authoritarian, more economically active states.

    There are alternatives to fossil fuels to power personal transportation, and with fossil fuel costs going up and the alternatives becoming cheaper, eventually they will be widely deployed. The car isn't going away anytime soon in the U.S, and probably not in my lifetime.

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