Efforts to build and expand subway lines under major Chinese cities, such as Guangzhou, have become a race against rapid urban expansion and the purchasing power of a growing middle class whose members desire private cars as part of a higher standard of living. Keith Bradsher reports for The New York Times:
The question is whether the burrowing machines can outrace China’s growing love affair with the automobile — car sales have soared ninefold since 2000. Or are a hundred Los Angeleses destined to bloom?
And even as Mr. Chan labors to bind Guangzhou together with an underground web of steel, the city is spreading out rapidly above ground, like a drop of ink on a paper towel.
[…]Western mass transit experts applaud China for investing billions in systems that will put less stress on the environment and on cities. But they warn that other Chinese policies, like allowing real estate developers to build sprawling new suburbs, undermine the benefits of the mass transit boom.