Vietnam News

Without changes, HCMC’s metro system will take 100 years

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Ho Chi Minh City needs to borrow US$20 billion to finish its planned metro lines, or else the system will take 100 years, the planning minister said.

“With the existing policy, it would take another 100 years for Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to complete eight or nine metro lines,” Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at a HCMC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Tuesday.

As per a plan approved in 2013, HCMC would have eight metro lines running 220 km long in total at a cost of $25 billion.

However, the first line is only 95% complete after construction started in 2012, while the second line is still in site clearance phase. Work on both lines is covered by official development aid distributed by the government.

The metro line No.1, which will run 19.7 km between District 1 and Thu Duc City, has missed the original deadline by five years.

Dung said the biggest obstacle that has prevented the city from finishing the line in time is funding.

“In order to maintain work on the line, which costs over VND43.7 trillion ($1.85 billion), HCMC has used its own budget to pay the contractor and workers many times over.”

In 2018, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio said in a letter to authorities that unpaid bills for the Japanese contractor of the city’s first metro line had climbed to $100 million.

If HCMC could not pay the bills by the end of this year, the contractor, Sumitomo Corporation, would stop its work, he wrote.

Dung said the progress of building metros in HCMC is “way too slow” and the city needs a solution.

“The city should study and propose a policy to borrow $20 billion to soon complete its metro system,” Dung said.

He cited China as an example. In 1997-1998, Vietnam’s neighbor only had 10,000 km of expressway but after 20 years, that figure had jumped to 168,000 km.

Such an achievement was a result of combining different solutions, including adjusting the management policy as well as diversifying financial sources to solve the funding issue, Dung said.

By Le Tuyet & Gia Minh – – July 18, 2023

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