Roads in China as an element of consolidation of statehood
In China roads are treated as an important tool for consolidation of statehood, which is the reason why the issue is given so much attention. The rate of construction is as high as 30 thousand kilometers of multilane highways per year and the construction technologies (roadway foundation made of concrete slabs covered with asphalt) provide for the service life of 20-25 years.
The cost of a kilometer of a four-lane highway:
China — $2.9 million
Brasil — $3.6 million
Russia — $12.9 million (the section of Moscow-Saint-Petersburg highway from the 15th to 58th km — $134 million;
Moscow Fourth Circle — about $400 million)
The Chinese do not do anything extraordinary — they simply consider the rates of growth of welfare, the increase in the number of cars, and the growth of cargo transportation. As for the low cost of construction of roads in China, it is due to cheap labor force and materials and good organisation of construction.
In China they consider the costs applicable in other countries, decrease them by 2 or 2.5 times, and specify the resulting figures to contractors. In Russia money are allocated based on the amounts spent in previous years.
The quantity of roads built in China in 10 days is the same as the one built in Russia in the entire 2008.
In China 480 thousand kilometers of roads were constructed since 2003 through 2008.
The total length of roads is 1.9 million kilometers.
By 2020, the figure is going to grew to 3 million kilometers.
In China there are 300,000 highway bridges, 700 of which are longer than a kilometer.
To a considerable extent, payment is made following the results of work. In Russia a contractor is immediately given money and the work is accepted regardless of its quality. A Chinese contractor insures the road using the money received for its work and the repair is financed using the insurance funds rather the budgetary ones. The “bribe tax” in the Celestial Empire is far less than in Russia.
There are two types of toll highways in China.
“Public” toll roads are built using credits granted to the PRC Government by various banks. Such roads are operated as toll roads within 15 years and then, after the credits are repaid, become free.
“Commercial” toll roads are built using own and borrowed funds of corporations and the period of paid operation of such roads is 25 years.
The road toll in China is from 4.2 US cents per 1 km to 10 US cents per 1 km for cars. For load-carrying vehicles the fare is comparable to the amount of fare charged, e.g., in Germany: $0.12-0.21 per 1 km. The fare paid for going by car from Beijing to Fuzhou (south-east of China) is about 1,600 yuans, which is almost equal to the cost of air ticket in the same direction.