BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Guizhou in southwest China welcomes foreign investment in its high-speed railway construction, part of the province's massive transport network construction plan between 2011 and 2015, said governor Zhao Kezhi on Wednesday.
Guizhou plans to build 2,993 km of expressway in the next five years, almost double the length it has now, said Zhao.
"We also plan to construct 3,017 km of railway, including high-speed rail that can run trains at 300 to 350 km per hour," said Zhao.
The grand plan needs massive investment, especially given Guizhou's mountainous topography.
"Each kilometer of expressway or railway in Guizhou will cost as much as 100 million yuan (15.2 million U.S. dollars), therefore to carry out our plan, we need at least 550 billion yuan," said Zhao.
Since Guizhou is an underdeveloped province, the central government will shoulder 70 percent of the bill, with the province and private investors footing the rest, said Zhao.
Poor transportation has long held Guizhou's economy back. Having the expressways and high-speed railways in place will boost regional development, said Zhao.
Construction of the 857-km Guiyang-Guangzhou railway express line started in 2008, and will link Guizhou's capital with Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong Province, one of the country's economic powerhouses.
With a population of around 40 million, Guizhou is expected to become the transport hub of southwest China due to its geographic position.
Hunan Province neighbors Guizhou to the east, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to its south, Yunnan Province to its west, and Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality to its north.
Nationwide, China will expand its networks of expressways and high-speed railways during the 2011-2015 period to support economic growth, according to the draft 12th Five-Year Plan.
By the end of 2015, the total length of the country's high-speed rail network is expected to reach 45,000 km, including within it almost every city with a population of more than 500,000, it said.