Attendants walk by a bullet train at a station in Tianjin. The train runs on the route from Tianjin to Bazhou, Hebei province. (Photo by Chai Cheng/For China Daily)
Regional transport integration among Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province is expected to speed up after the establishment of a 100 billion yuan (.52 billion) development fund for financing the construction of intercity railways.
The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Intercity Railways Development Fund, jointly established by a State-owned investment company, 11 banks and a fund management company, was set up on Tuesday and will raise 60 billion yuan at its initial stage.
Around 70 percent of the fund will be used to construct intercity railways in the region, while the rest will be used to finance land development projects along the lines.
"The market mechanism can play a fundamental role in raising the fund and will attract more investment," said Peng Zhengyin, dean of the School of Business at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics.
Peng said the establishment of the fund for intercity railways will further push forward the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, not only in the fields of transportation, but also in logistics and finance.
The investment company－Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Intercity Railway Investment Co Ltd－was founded in 2015 by the State-owned enterprise China Railway and the governments of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.
It is in charge of the region's railway investment, construction, operation and comprehensive resource development along the routes.
According to a program approved last year by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, nine intercity railways with a total length of 1,100 kilometers and an estimated cost of 247 billion yuan will be completed by 2020.
These lines will link Beijing and Tianjin with cities in Hebei, including Bazhou, Chongli, Zhuozhou, Tangshan and Shijiazhuang.
The construction of intercity rail lines connecting Beijing and Tangshan, and Beijing and Tianjin's suburban Binhai New Area, will be kicked off this year.
The intercity railways are a significant part of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated development plan.
"They can enhance the transportation connectivity among the three provincial-level administrations, thus helping boost economies and upgrade the regional industrial structures," said Wang Yuling, an official at the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated development office of the Hebei Development and Reform Commission.
Wang said intercity railway links, most of which run at around 300 km per hour, can cut the travel times for passengers and freight cargo.