Vietnam may spend 26 billion U.S. dollars to build North-South high-speed railway

Construction of Vietnam’s North-South high-speed railway, which allows passengers to travel between capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in about eight hours, will cost about 26 billion U.S. dollars, local media reported on July 10, 2019.

Citing analysis by experts from Germany and the Netherlands, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said that with the span of thousands of kilometers, a running speed of 200 kilometers per hour would be cost-effective, the Vietnam News daily reported.

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Previously, the Ministry of Transport proposed a plan on constructing a new high-speed railway, which allows trains to run at 320 kilometers per hour, with the tentative investment of some 58.7 billion U.S. dollars over 30 years from 2020 to 2050.

According to the ministry, the railway project will be implemented under the public-private partnership model, with 80 percent of the investment allocated from the state budget and the rest funded by the private sector.

However, former deputy minister of transport La Ngoc Khue said the tentative investment of 58.7 billion U.S. dollars will place a burden on Vietnam’s economy since it is 50 times higher than the total state funding for transport infrastructure development in one fiscal year.

If the Vietnamese prime minister approves the North-South high-speed plan, the country’s top legislature will vote on whether it will move forward or not.

Vietnam’s railway sector transported 4.2 million passengers and 2.6 million tons of cargoes in the first half of this year, seeing respective year-on-year decreases of 6.8 percent and 10.4 percent, according to the General Statistics Office.

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