HCMC traffic projects require $39 billion over next decade

By Huu Cong   July 1, 2020 | 07:00 pm PT
HCMC traffic projects require $39 billion over next decade
An aerial view of An Suong Intersection in Ho Chi Minh City's District 12, December 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
For the 2021-2030 period, Vietnam’s southern metropolis will need over VND904 trillion ($39 billion) for infrastructure development to serve its rising traffic demands.

The money is needed to tackle its chronic traffic gridlock and reduce accidents on the road, the municipal transport department stated Tuesday.

Of the sum, more than VND438 trillion will come from the city budget and the rest from the central government budget, private investment capital, and official development assistance (ODA).

In the next five years, the city would build and complete three expressways: one to link it with Moc Bai International Border Gate in neighboring Tay Ninh Province; HCMC–Long Thanh–Dau Giay Expressway, a 55-km-long (34 mile) route to connect the city with neighboring Dong Nai Province; and HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway that links it with Tien Giang Province and the rest of Mekong Delta.

It will also focus on upgrading and completing five national highways alongside its second and third ring roads.

Ring Road 2 will connect districts 2, 7, 8, 9, 12, Binh Tan, Thu Duc, Hoc Mon and Binh Chanh to help ease chronic downtown traffic congestion by preventing container trucks passing through inner-city areas.

Ring Road 3 will allow vehicles to travel to and from neighboring provinces like Binh Duong, Long An and Dong Nai without having to enter the inner city, an advantage for developing urban services.

In these five years, the city will also invest in seven major inner-city roads and six intersections to ease traffic jams.

Other work planned for this period include four bridges, Thu Thiem 3 to link Districts 2 and 4, Thu Thiem 4 to connect Districts 2 and 7, Cat Lai to link HCMC and Dong Nai, and Can Gio to cross from Nha Be to Can Gio.

The city also targets to finish three metro lines: line No.1 from downtown Ben Thanh to suburban Suoi Tien Theme Park, line No.2 from Ben Thanh to Tham Luong, a depot in outlying District 12, and line No.5 from Bay Hien Intersection in Tan Binh District to Saigon Bridge in Binh Thanh District.

For the 2025-2030 period, it will work on four more metro lines and five elevated roads.

For now, the traffic area ratio remains at 2.17 km per square km across the city, far below the urban road density standard of 10-13.3 km per square km.

By March this year, the city hosted more than 8.1 million vehicles, including over 763.000 autos, with the rest motorbikes.

In a talk with VnExpress last month, Tran Quang Lam, director of the Department of Transport, said traffic infrastructure projects in the city have fallen behind schedule as the central government takes a greater share of its revenues, leaving it short of money.

For 2015-2020, the city had approved spending VND373 trillion ($16 million) on 172 traffic projects, but so far, just VND59 trillion, or 17 percent, has been used, according to the Department of Planning and Investment.

A major factor behind this tardiness is that for the 2016-2020 five-year period, the city has been allowed to keep just 18 percent of its annual revenues, having to submit the rest to the national budget. This ratio is 5 percentage points down from the previous 23 percent.

This happens as expenditure for infrastructure development related funding has kept rising, Lam said.

On the other hand, disbursement from the central government budget on transport infrastructure development for the city has been falling behind plan, he noted.

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