Ho Chi Minh City authorities have asked the central government for approval to access Japan’s preferential loans for two metro projects, according to the municipal Urban Railway Management Board.
The Japanese official development assistance (ODA), if approved, will be set aside for the VND32.2 trillion (US$1.42 billion) 3a and the VND 33.7 trillion ($1.48 billion) 3b metro lines, the management board said this week.
The first route will stretch around 10 kilometers from Ben Thanh Station in District 1 to Mien Tay (Western) Bus Station in Binh Tan District, while the other will span over 12 kilometers to link Cong Hoa Station in Tan Binh District with Hiep Binh Phuoc Station in Thu Duc District.
The two metro lines will be built mostly underground, the management board said.
In June, the Ho Chi Minh City administration began to seek funding for a feasibility study to build a two-kilometer subway section, part of metro project No. 5, to connect Cong Hoa Station to another at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The city has also requested technical support from the Korean government for the research and implementation of metro project No. 5, according to a document the municipal government sent to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Due to the urgency of the project, Ho Chi Minh City officials have also proposed that the Ministry of Planning and Investment discuss with the Export-Import Bank of Korea the funding for the feasibility study for the Cong Hoa-Tan Son Nhat metro line.
The study will provide a basis to help define many important parameters, including geology, topography, and hydrology, as prerequisites for the implementation of the project.
According to the management board, the Cong Hoa-Tan Son Nhat metro line will facilitate passengers’ travel from the airport to inner city areas and the eastern and western parts of the city – and vice versa.
Metro line No. 5 has a total length of 24 kilometers, starting at the Saigon Bridge in Binh Thanh District and ending at Can Giuoc Bus Station in District 8.
The two-kilometer section, once completed, will connect to the first phase of metro line No. 5 , which will go along many streets like Hoang Van Thu, Phan Dang Luu, Bach Dang, and Dien Bien Phu, linking a station at the Bay Hien intersection to another near the Saigon Bridge for a distance of around 9 kilometers.
The second phase of the project will connect the intersection, located in Tan Binh District, to Da Phuoc Station in Binh Chanh District.
With ODA loans from Japan and corresponding funds from the state budget, Ho Chi Minh City commenced the construction of its first metro line, Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien, worth about US$2.49 billion, in 2012.
Bui Xuan Cuong, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Board, told a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai in July that the 11.3-kilometer metro line No. 2, connecting Ben Thanh Station in District 1 and An Suong Station in District 12, will be completed in 2019.
As the development of the metro route will take longer time than expected, its initial investment will have to be raised from $1.4 billion to $2.19 billion, Cuong said.
The first metro line, from Ben Thanh Station to Suoi Tien Station in District 9, has seen its estimated investment double, from $1.2 billion to $2.49 billion, also due to sluggish construction, mostly in site clearance stages.