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Traffic infrastructure vital for growth in southeastern provinces

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The development of traffic infrastructure plays a vital role in driving growth and development in southeastern provinces, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung.

However, the southeastern region is still facing various obstacles and shortcomings that hinder its full potential despite its significant contributions to the country’s socio-economic development, he told the first session of the Southeastern Region Coordination Council chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh this morning, July 18.

These challenges include insufficient and poorly integrated infrastructure within the region itself and in connection with other regions, as well as disparities in development among different provinces within the region. Other issues such as traffic congestion, environmental pollution, and localized flooding also need to be addressed.

Minister Dung also expressed concerns about the high population density in major urban areas, particularly HCMC. The current population density in HCMC is 4,292 people per square kilometer, significantly higher than Hanoi City with 2,398 people, the southeastern region with 795 people, and the national average with 320 people.

To tackle these problems, Minister Dung emphasized the strategic importance of coordinating the development of economic and social infrastructure to fuel growth in southeastern Vietnam.

Addressing the high population density in HCMC requires a focus on developing and improving transportation infrastructure and public transit systems, offering viable alternatives to private vehicle usage. This approach can help alleviate congestion, enhance mobility, and create a more livable urban environment in major urban areas like HCMC.

At the meeting, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Thang presented plans to transform the southeastern region, focusing on improving its roadways, railways, waterways, and airports.

These plans entail a significant investment of VND738.5 trillion, divided into two phases: VND342 trillion from 2021 to 2025 and VND396.5 trillion from 2026 to 2030.

The Transport Ministry’s primary emphasis is on roadways, with a priority on completing component projects of the North-South Expressway, as well as major gateways and transport hubs.

Typical projects include constructing Beltway No. 3, Beltway No. 4, and expressways that connect Ben Luc and Long Thanh, HCMC and Moc Bai, HCMC and Chon Thanh, and Bien Hoa and Vung Tau.

In terms of railways, the focus is on enhancing rail transportation efficiency, particularly by upgrading the North-South railway and improving the HCMC transport hub.

To optimize inland waterway transportation, the ministry aims to renovate and complete various waterway routes. Additionally, investments will be made to upgrade ports, facilitating efficient cargo collection and clearance.

In the aviation sector, the plan includes initiating operations at Terminal 3 of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, commencing phase one of Long Thanh International Airport, and investing in phase two to increase capacity.

Minister Thang also proposed developing special policies and mechanisms for the region, similar to the initiatives in HCMC that have been endorsed by the National Assembly.

On July 11, the prime minister issued Decision No. 825, officially establishing the Southeast Region Coordination Council. The council aims to promote collaboration and address the challenges faced by the region by bringing together key stakeholders and fostering coordination among relevant authorities.

As per the decision, the prime minister serves as the chairman of the council, with the Minister of Planning and Investment assuming the role of standing deputy chairman. Other vice-chairpersons include ministers from various sectors such as Transport, Science and Technology, Construction, and Natural Resources and Environment. Council members consist of leaders from relevant ministries and chairpersons of the People’s Committees of the six provinces in the region.

The southeastern region comprises HCMC and five neighboring provinces – Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Phuoc, and Tay Ninh. It covers an area of 23,551 square kilometers, accounting for 7.1% of the country’s total land area. With a population of 18.8 million people, the region represents 18.9% of the national population in 2022.

The southeastern region has a critical position in Vietnam’s socio-economic development as the largest economic hub in the country. In 2022, it contributed around 31% to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), 35% to exports, and 38% to the nation’s budget revenue.

The per capita GDP in the southeastern region is 1.64 times higher than the national average. Additionally, the region boasts a high urbanization rate of 66.5%, which is 1.8 times the national average.

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