Houston Community News >> Beijing Cars Surpass 3 Million

5/29/2007 BEIJING - THE number of registered automobiles in the Chinese capital, rising by more that 1,000 a day, has surpassed three million, according to official media. 'The number reflects the level of economic and social development in Beijing,' Liu Xiaoming, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Transportation Commission, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Monday.

The total number of cars in the capital is expected to reach between 3.3 million and 3.5 million by August next year, when Beijing hosts the Olympic Games, Xinhua said.

To reduce traffic congestion, the city government has spent more than 90 billion yuan (S$18 billion) on building roads and improving public transport over the past three years. Even more will be spent in the run-up to the Beijing Games, officials said.

Beijing had few private cars until the 1990s and exceeded the one million mark only in 1997.

Mr Liu said that the rising number of vehicles added to environmental problems and increased the pressure on the urban transportation system.

Beijing's traffic congestion and the capital's infamous pollution are considered to be the two main obstacles to a successful Olympic Games next year.

(Contributed by AP)