The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on March 11 signed a $540 million loan agreement with the Vietnamese government for construction of an urban mass rapid transit line to reduce traffic congestion in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to ADB’s country director for Vietnam Ayumi Konishi, the project would help promote a modal shift from private vehicle to public transport in the southern city.
“Such a shift, if successful, will not only significantly reduce traffic congestion and accidents but also substantially reduce green house gas emissions, makingViet Nam one of the leading countries in the region to address climate change mitigation through low carbon transport modes,” Konishi said.
As an integral part of the first three mass rapid transit (MRT) lines being developed in Ho Chi Minh City, the11.3-kilometer MRT Line 2 will run 9.3 kilometers undergroundwith two kilometers of elevated and transition track. It will stretch from Ben Thanh in centre of the city out past the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, to Tham Luong.
The loan signed yesterday will add ADB to the list of financiers supporting the development of Ho Chi Minh City’s urban transportation system development.
The project will have clear indirect poverty reduction impacts. Major beneficiaries will be public and private transport users, with women, students, children, and older people expected to benefit the most from improved transportation, as well as communities in districts along the MRT lines.
“We are fully aware that the real challenge is to change the people’s mindset. But we sincerely hope public transportation will be supported by people in Ho Chi Minh City as improved and cheaper transport will create business opportunities, reduce congestion, and improve the quality of life,” said Konishi.
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Viet Nam, and its current population of over nine million is expected to grow to almost 14 million by 2025. Private vehicles dominate the city’s transportation, but road infrastructure is reaching the saturation point. The city is predicted to see traffic continuing to worsen as more motorbike users convert to cars as their incomes increase.
By Lien Huong
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