The Associated Press reports that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expecting a US$15 billion railway connecting Singapore with Kunming to be completed by 2015, which is several years later than had been previously hoped.
The 5,000 kilometer (3,000 mile) rail line's development has been hampered by a lack of funds, technical issues and varying levels of enthusiasm among countries involved.
There is already an existing rail link from Singapore to Bangkok, passing through Malaysia; it is the two branches extending north from Bangkok that have proven more difficult. The western branch will travel through Myanmar and the line's eastern branch will cut through Cambodia and Vietnam, with an additional section of track connecting it to Laos.
ASEAN secretary-general Ong Keng Yong told the AP that the Asian Development Bank has recently given Cambodia US$40 million in soft loans, with an additional US$5.4 million in grants also being secured for the rail line, which is expected to dramatically increase the flow of people and cargo throughout the region.
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