HCMC wants private investors to renovate road traffic system

By Gia Minh   February 1, 2023 | 10:44 pm PT
HCMC wants private investors to renovate road traffic system
Traffic jam on National Highway 13 in HCMC's Thu Duc City, January 29, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
HCMC wants to upgrade national highways and routes linking it with other localities under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) method, according to a proposal made by the Department of Transport.

The city currently only uses the BOT method to build new road projects.

As proposed by the Transport Department to the Department of Planning and Investment, the BOT method will be applied to renovate three highway sections. The projects include the VND12.2-trillion (US$523.67-million) expansion of National Highway 13 in Thu Duc City from 19 meters wide to 40-60 meters wide, a VND12.9-trillion project to enlarge National Highway 1 that links the city with the Mekong Delta from 19 to 52 meters wide, and a VND1.2 trillion project to upgrade National Highway 22 near its northwestern gateway to the industrial hub of Binh Duong Province.

Aside from those highways, the Transport Department proposed applying the BOT method to lengthening the East-West Boulevard in Thu Duc City by 9.7 kilometers at a cost of VND13.837 trillion, enlarging a 27-kilometer-long route linking Tan Binh District with Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in Nha Be District at VND54.2 trillion and expanding a 5.8-kilometer-long route running in parallel with National Highway 50 at VND3.8 trillion.

Tran Tri Chung, an official at the Transport Department, said the department submitted the proposal as all of those routes have been overloaded and degraded despite playing a key role in connecting HCMC with other localities to serve socio-economic development.

The city has not been able to renovate the projects due to a lack of funds, he said.

"The city's traffic sector has been allocated VND52.7 trillion of public funding for the 2021-2025 period, but that sum can only meet less than 20% of the actual demand for traffic development," said Chung.

Duong Nhu Hung, dean of the Department of Industrial Management at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, said the demand for development in the city is high while the state budget is limited and so having private investors take part in projects via the BOT format could be a way out.

A resolution issued by the National Assembly in 2017 stipulates that the BOT method, which will result in toll collection booths once a project is complete, is only used for construction of new roads, to ensure commuters can use existing routes in case they do not want to pay toll fee.

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