Having a sound transportation system increases economic productivity, that’s given. It lowers the costs of moving people and goods. Evidently, improved productivity leads to a higher standard of living.
According to The Geography of Transport Systems, authored by Geography professor Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, development can be defined as improving the welfare of a society through appropriate social, political, and economic conditions.
“Overall, efficient transportation reduces costs in many economic sectors, while inefficient transportation increases these costs. Besides, the impacts of transportation are not always intended and can have unforeseen or unintended consequences,” Dr. Rodrigue said.
A good example is congestion. Overcrowded streets are often unintended consequences of providing free or low-cost transport infrastructure to the users. However, congestion is also an indication of a growing economy where capacity and infrastructure have difficulties keeping up with the rising mobility demands.
Transport carries an important social and environmental load, which cannot be neglected.
Home to nearly 100 million people, the Vietnamese government is doing its part to prioritize the transportation system that contributes a great deal to the economic and social development by focusing its investments on major and urgent transportation projects in the southeast region.
According to a 2021 plan of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transport discussed on March 8, the city will speed up the preparation of investment and propose investment plans for transportation projects linking regional localities, industrial parks and clusters, and export processing zones and seaports.
“The projects include Belt Roads No. 2 and 3, HCM City-Moc Bai Expressway, Nguyen Khoai road’s bridge, National Highways No. 50 and 22, Can Gio bridge, and overhead roads,” Tran Quang Lam, director of the municipal Department of Transport said. “Simultaneously, the city will launch infrastructure serving the eastern interactive urban area while applying measures to speed up the progress of important projects.”
At the planning session, the Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Hoa Binh asked the Department of Transport to pay greater attention to transport connectivity projects, especially those connecting with Long An, Tay Ninh, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.
He underlined the need to set a specific schedule for the completion of the Belt Roads No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 to facilitate the city’s transport connectivity.
Speaking at a recent online meeting, Transport Minister Nguyen Van The appealed to local authorities in the southeast region to speed up the major transport projects by diversifying the sources of capital over the next five years. “A lack of regional connectivity and overloaded roads at major gateways remains an issue in the region,” the minister said.
The minister would like to speed up the implementation of major projects in the region this year to 2025, with priority given to the expansion of the Ho Chi Minh City Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway and the construction of Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway, Bien Hoa-Vung Tau expressway, HCMC-Moc Bai, and Ring Roads 2 and 3.
Other projects include the construction of the Long Thanh-Thu Thiem light railway connecting HCMC to the new Long Thanh airport, and the expansion of Provincial Road 25C from HCMC to Dong Nai province.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also recently approved the ministry’s proposal to give HCMC the authority to approve investment decisions for the HCMC-Moc Bai Expressway. The 53.5km-long expressway will link Ring Road No 3 in HCMC’s Hoc Mon district with Moc Bai International Border Gate between Vietnam and Cambodia in Tay Ninh province.
Currently, National Highway No. 22 is the only road connecting HCMC and Tay Ninh province. The new expressway is expected to reduce traffic pressure on National Highway No. 22 and contribute to the economic and social development of the city, Tay Ninh province, and neighboring countries, including Cambodia.
The highway, which costs nearly VND13.6 trillion (US$589 million) including the cost of compensation of VND5,100 billion (US$221.3 million), will be implemented under a public-private partnership model, following the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format having state budget support, SGGP Online reported.
The project is set to start construction this year and will be completed by 2025.
Overall, the transport sector is striving to construct more than 4,000 kilometers of expressways in the next 10 years — all to improve connectivity among regions nationwide.
Construction of Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport Terminal 3 is set to begin in October, increasing the airport’s capacity from 30 million passengers a year to 50-55 million, Airports Corporation of Vietnam said.
The Ministry of National Defense is handing over 16 hectares for that purpose, while the feasibility report for the construction is being prepared and final approval is expected to be issued next month, Do Tat Binh, ACV deputy director, told VN Express. The construction will take two years.
The government has approved the construction of the new terminal at a cost of VND10.99 trillion ($478 million), which will come from ACV’s resources.
The combined capacity of Tan Son Nhat and the first-phase Long Thanh International Airport in neighboring Dong Nai Province would be 80-85 million by 2030, meeting the projected demand of 80 million.
Situated 40 kilometers east of HCMC, Long Thanh International Airport will include a four-kilometer runway, taxiways, aprons, and a 373,000-square-meter terminal with a capacity of 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargo a year.
The $4.6 billion first phase of the mega airport is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
The region’s transport structure may be far below the needs of its economic and social growth potential at the moment, but the plans to improve and construct are positive signs that Vietnam, specifically its local authorities, is willing to extend its resources and partner with private entities to accommodate the demands of its growing economy.