HCMC district chief eyes public funding for underground parking lots

By Le Tuyet, Gia Minh   July 11, 2023 | 10:59 pm PT
HCMC district chief eyes public funding for underground parking lots
Motorcyclists wait to get into a parking lot near Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in HCMC's District 1, January 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
It is not easy to attract private investment in building underground parking lots, and HCMC should consider public funding for them, the chairman of District 1 has said.

Four such parking lots proposed in his district have remained on paper for over two decades, with the city struggling to source funding for them, Le Duc Thanh told a city meeting Tuesday.

They could accommodate 6,300 cars and 4,000 motorbikes at a time when the downtown area is facing a "severe lack of parking area," he said.

A US$110-million proposal approved in 2010 to build a parking lot beneath Le Van Tam Park and a VND900-billion ($38.7 million) lot approved in 2009 at Trong Dong Theater remain in limbo as the city and their private investors could not sort out land issues.

The other two, approved in 2015 and 2016 to be built at Tao Dan Park and Hoa Lu Stadium at a cost of VND1 trillion and the other VND3.4 trillion, have been non-starters since the city has not been able to find investors.

Tran Anh Tuan, deputy director of the city Department of Planning and Investment, had explained at a meeting last year that the laws on public-private partnerships (PPP) do not allow investors to earn extra by offering commercial services at projects, something all prospective investors are keen on.

"It would then be very difficult for them to recover their investment.

"Such obstacles have prevented the city to attract investors as it would be very difficult for them to recover their capital."

Thanh said the parking spots now available in the district could only meet 30% of demand.

The scarcity means vehicles are parked illegally on sidewalks and roads, affecting traffic and urban order, he said.

So the district wants the city to consider public funding for the lots, he said.

"In addition to solving parking needs, this will also enhance public utilities to serve people and attract tourists to the city center."

Last December the Department of Transport had said it was working on a plan to build pre-assembled high-rise parking lots, but has made no progress.

As of October last year the city had 8.7 million vehicles - more than 850,000 cars and 7.8 million motorbikes - according to the department.

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