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Ho Chi Minh City halts $10.5mn technical support for BRT project

Ho Chi Minh City halts $10.5mn technical support for BRT project

Wednesday, August 16, 2023, 21:28 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City halts $10.5mn technical support for BRT project
Ho Chi Minh City plans to use compressed natural gas-fueled and electric buses for its BRT line. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

The administration in Ho Chi Minh City has halted a technical support project worth nearly VND250 billion (US$10.5 million) for its bus rapid transit (BRT) project.

The city attributed the move to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the failure to complete plans and missions by the investor of the project — the Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Authority of Ho Chi Minh City.

The pandemic in 2020 and 2021 affected the mobilization of foreign consultants. As a result, the investor failed to hold tenders to choose contractors and conclude contracts for 12 packages of the project.

The further execution of the project is not in line with the current situation as the World Bank in September last year announced it would stop disbursing loans for the BRT project, according to the municipal authorities.

The World Bank is also the sponsor of the technical support project for the BRT line.

It wants to use the capital for the technical support project to help Ho Chi Minh City in studying other urban development and public transport projects.

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City will require the municipal Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Authority to complete procedures to put an end to the technical support project in line with regulations on the management and use of official development assistance (ODA) loans and preferential loans of foreign units.

Vietnam's then-prime minister approved the technical support project for the BRT line in Ho Chi Minh City to be carried out between 2016 and 2020.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee later adjusted the planned execution time to 2018-22.

The standing board of the municipal Party’s Committee had earlier reached a consensus on scrapping the BRT project.

The prime minister green-lighted the project in 2013 with an investment of nearly $156 million, sourced from the World Bank. The project execution was expected to last five years, from 2014 to 2019.

However, a series of delays forced the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee to adjust the investment plan for the project in late 2020 with the ODA loan from the World Bank falling to over $121.2 million and the city’s corresponding capital totaling nearly VND423 billion ($17.7 million).

The 26-kilometer BRT line was designed to stretch from the An Lac Roundabout in Binh Tan District to the Rach Chiec Bridge in Thu Duc City and run along Vo Van Kiet and Mai Chi Tho Avenues, passing through District 1, District 6, District 8, Binh Chanh District, Binh Tan District, and Thu Duc City, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported.

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Thanh Ha - Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre News

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