Vietnam's largest city starts building urban rail system
HANOI - VIETNAM'S largest city started construction on Thursday of the country's first urban railway system, a project worth nearly US$1.1 billion (S$1.6 billion) and financed mostly with Japanese loans, officials said.
Workers in Ho Chi Minh City broke ground on the system set to carry 526,000 people per day by 2014 along 19.7 kilometres of above and below ground rail lines in the traffic-choked city of about seven million.
'This project is very important to improve the transport situation in the city and will help boost economic development,' Nguyen Huu Tin, deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh People Committee, said in a press release.
The line will link central Ben Thanh Market with southern Suoi Tien, with the first 2.6 kilometres in the city centre to be built underground.
The Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) will provide 83 per cent of investment capital, or US$905 million, said the press statement.
The first part of the project to be built is a repair and maintenance depot, and construction of the rail line is scheduled to start in 2010, said Yoshifumi Omura, in charge of the project at JBIC.
Agence France Presse - February 21, 2008.