Sponge City opens many hidden behind the market

Downstream of China Instrument Network Instrumentation Since March 2016, since the second batch of pilot projects for the construction of “sponge cities” in China began to report, the provinces have shown much higher intensity than last year. The construction of “sponge city” has also reached the 2016 level. The two sessions were hot and received extensive attention. According to public information, there are currently more than 20 provinces and cities that have issued plans to promote "sponge cities" and have launched more than a thousand projects.

At the same time, the planning and construction of “sponge cities” across the country is in full swing. For example, Jinan City has 43 major projects and 137 subprojects with a total investment of 7.826 billion yuan. It will complete the construction of a “sponge city” in the pilot region within 2 to 3 years. Hunan Yueyang plans to invest 4 billion yuan in the three years from now to promote the construction of a "sponge city." Wuhan, Hubei Province also pointed out that it plans to complete 389 “sponge cities” construction projects by 2017, with a total investment of 15.516 billion yuan.

The "Sponge City" project got together and started, which also caused some people's concern. Some experts pointed out that the construction of a “sponge city” should respect science and must be considered calmly. The role of green rainwater infrastructure should not be overstated or diminished, and blind investment in geological conditions should not be ignored. After the construction, it is also necessary to avoid heavy construction, light management, heavy investment, and light operation.

In addition, the problem of insufficient funds faced in the construction of "Sponge City" is also worth noting. Although the state encourages the PPP model to solve the funding problem, some industry insiders questioned that many constructions of “sponge cities” benefit the public, but the market entities receive little direct income, so the enthusiasm of the enterprises is not high. Even if there is start-up capital, the subsequent matching fundraising will also be difficult.

Pilot application boom In fact, starting from 2015, the State Council has successively opened two batches of pilots for sponge cities and entered pilot cities to receive subsidies from the central government for special funds. The municipality has 600 million yuan each year, provincial capital cities have 500 million yuan each year, and other cities have 400 million yuan each year. Yuan, even for three years.

From the first batch of pilots, competition in the city is very fierce. According to statistics from the Ministry of Housing and Housing, more than 130 cities in the country had more than 130 plans for sponge city construction. Jiangsu, Anhui, and Liaoning provinces also issued guidelines to require the full implementation of the construction of sponge cities throughout the province. In the end, 34 cities entered the preliminary list, and only 16 cities including Qian’an, Baicheng, Zhenjiang, Jiaxing, and Chongqing were included in the list of sponge city pilots.

Sponge City pilot qualifications have become the "sweet potato" in the eyes of local governments. A person from the southwestern region who participated in the construction of the Sponge City pointed out that the Sponge City is a policy that is pushed down from above, so the place must have momentum. As the first batch of pilot cities reported, due to lack of materials and other factors, none of the provinces in which they are located has been shortlisted. Later, the province pushed down the sponge city as a mission layer. According to the requirements of the Provincial Department of Construction, all prefecture-level cities must complete the preparation of specific special plans to prepare for the second batch of sponge city pilots before December 31, 2015. use.

"Poor people need central funds." The above-mentioned sources frankly stated that apart from the driving force from the central government, the Sponge City itself can improve all aspects of the city, but the local government does not have enough funds, so it hopes to apply for central funding support. “The sponge city is in line with the new stage of domestic urban development. It is the natural needs of the society and the people.” Liu Shijian, an industry veteran who helped pilot cities in many cities, said that the stage for high-rise buildings and wide roads is over. Now people are Pay more attention to the quality of life in the city. I don't want to have a flood when it rains. I can't even sit on the subway.

The initial stage of the project was very confused. If the market size of a city is estimated to be several billion yuan, the national sponge city construction will have a scale of 100 billion yuan. However, due to the complexity of the construction of the sponge city and the vagueness of the return mechanism, “cherry is not easy to plant,” and the huge market temptation is not “looking so beautiful”.

Niu Shubin, deputy director of the Department of Water Affairs of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, publicly stated that the construction of a sponge city is a very complex and systematic project. From the construction content, there are buildings and communities, urban green areas and factories, and urban water systems. The industries involved include buildings, roads, bridges, water conservancy projects, landscaping, and so on. It is a comprehensive project and covers the work after the foundation of professional planning. , also includes survey, design, investment, construction, operation and other aspects. With high complexity, unclear project conditions and huge investment, local governments will encounter many challenges in organizing this project.

The first batch of sponge cities in Hebei Province, Wei Changhua, director of the Housing and Urban Development Bureau of Qian’an City, said at the forum: “As a county-level city, both professionals in finance and engineering technology, as well as the level of business are very limited. At the beginning of the project, it was very confused. It is not clear where to start this work."

Liu Shijian further pointed out that “when the central ministries and commissions formulate financial support policies, they are considering the formation of a policy orientation. However, in the local implementation process, the first consideration of local governments is to take this project off and get the funds first. However, how did the money spend and how did it continue to receive the money? Many local governments were still confused by the assessment of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development." Liu Shijian said: How do lawyers or consulting companies design trading structures and how to structure them in the construction of sponge cities? There is no precedent for writing contract texts. “Smart cities, sponge cities, and other integrated projects, including land development, development of tracts, development of industrial parks, and integrated water resources management, have a lot of these projects. Local governments do not have a clear idea of ​​what they want. ”

Financing Dilemma When Professor Tan Shukui of the School of Public Administration of Huazhong University of Science and Technology evaluated and compared 14 of the first batch of sponge city pilots in 2015, Professor Tan found that the construction of seven pilot municipal facilities could not match their economic level and that they needed to increase the volume of sponges. Construction. In his research, the municipal facilities include the length of the drainage pipeline, the area of ​​the public green space, the length of the flood protection dike, the area of ​​the park, and the density of drainage channels.

But where the money comes from is a problem. The central finance special awards are: 600 million yuan each year for municipalities, 500 million yuan each year for capital cities, and 400 million yuan for other cities each year. “The central government’s funds for the three years of construction are only a few billion yuan, but many pilot projects are proposed to have a scale of more than 10 billion yuan. The main mode of financing is local government investment platform debt, which led to the construction of a sponge city that should have driven economic growth. Increased local government debt,” said Liu Bo, initiator of the anti-urban hardening campaign.

On July 1, the consortium initiated by Beijing Sponge City Holdings Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Beijing Sponge Holding) signed a contract with the Administrative Committee of Jiangdong New Area of ​​Heyuan City, Guangdong Province to establish the construction and operation main body of the Sponge City and Underground Pipeline in Jiangdong New District. Prior to this, the Beijing Sponge Holding Co., Ltd. has signed contracts with Hebei Wangdu Economic Development Zone (Phase I) and the Sponge City and Underground Pipeline Project of Tangshan Hi-tech Zone. Beijing Sponge Holding Co., Ltd. introduced that the strategic investment agreement for these projects totaled more than 20 billion yuan. In 2016, nearly 50 million yuan was implemented for the implementation of the project.

“Beijing Sponge Holding’s market position is the PPP model capital provider. After one domestic pilot project completed the project bidding, it was unable to enter the market for four months because the capital was not ready,” said Li Guodong, chairman of Beijing Sponge Holding. However, local governments also hope to gain additional benefits through the Sponge City PPP project. “If PPP projects are not linked to industries, it is difficult to continue to develop. We went to some cities to negotiate, and the investment criteria of local governments are very realistic: what kind of industries can be brought to the local area and how to form a tax return,” said Li Guodong.

(Original title: Sponge City is not "big and beautiful" and trillion market exists)

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