China’s State Planner National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approved the second major urban railway project this year, which comes as the world’s second-largest economy aims to improve slowing growth.
The state planning authority has approved a 95 billion yuan ($14bn) plan to increase its Suzhou Rail Transit network in eastern China.
The project includes four urban transit lines, with a total estimated length of 137 km (85 miles).
The announcement followed reports on Sunday that authorities had given the greenlight to a 78.7 billion yuan ($11.3bn) urban rail project in the northeastern city of Changchun.
“Construction is slated to begin this year and complete in 2023.”
This is the first approval for a city spending in a year after the authorities suspended a number of major infrastructure projects as government debt had risen.
China is now boosting domestic demand given that a trade conflict with the US has put more pressure on its slowing economy.
According to data, the country’s growth of fixed asset investment had seen a record drop in the first half of this year. Growth in infrastructure spending also slowed to 5.7% in the first seven months, from 7.3% in the first six months.
According to Suzhou Rail Transit, construction is slated to begin this year and complete in 2023.
In addition to generating more jobs, expanding metro lines would boost demand for steel and base metals – copper, aluminum and zinc – for use in wiring, rails and cars.
The shift to stimulus measures has raised fears among some China watchers that Beijing is returning to its old playbook of debt-fueled growth, undermining its multi-year push to reduce riskier lending practices and a mountain of debt.