The Chinese Ministry Transport announced on January 18, 2011 that its construction of twelve (12) national highways was completed thirteen (13) years ahead of schedule! That is one indication that China, in its race to build infrastructure is winning. More than 20,500 miles of highways have been built in the last five (5) years and China is on track to top the U.S. in terms of roadways. The U.S. Interstate system was built over more than three (3) decades, starting from 1958 and lasting until 1991. The Chinese highway system was built largely in the last decade.
Congestion in major cities and increasing high highway tolls are putting a damper on China’s otherwise enthusiastic building program. The Minister of Transportation has removed tolls on close to 90,000 km of highway, but offered a friendly reminder: “If there were no tolls, there would be no development of the transport system in China.”