HCMC needs stronger assistance from Gov't to tackle traffic jam

SGGP

If HCMC doesn't take more initiatives and the Government doesn't give more assistances, it will be difficult for the city to tackle the currently complicated traffic jam, according to Mr. Hoang Minh Tri, former head of HCMC Institute for Development Study.

A new residential area in Pham Hung street, Binh Chanh district, HCMC has provided new accommodations far from the center of the city (Photo: SGGP)

A new residential area in Pham Hung street, Binh Chanh district, HCMC has provided new accommodations far from the center of the city (Photo: SGGP)

The city has been attempting to handle nearly 30 hotspots of traffic jam and accidents with capital nearing tens of thousands of billions of dong. Of these, Tan Son Nhat Airport and Cat Lai Seaport need VND20 trillion (US$880 million).

Interviewing Mr. Tri recently, Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper reporters queried the city has run after traffic jam, building flyovers and tunnels in congested spots while the nature of the issue is overloading. The fact shows that traffic jam has soon returned in newly built flyovers and expanded streets. Hence, the city has spent much but been unable to basically solve the issue.

In reply, Mr. Tri said that was an inaccurate judgment. If the city had not broadened and built flyovers to handle traffic jam especially in Tan Son Nhat Airport and Cat Lai Seaport areas, it would have affected travel production, export import, investment attraction and tourist development.  

Without Nguyen Van Cu and Chanh Hung bridges’ branches, travel of residents in Districts 5 and 8 will be difficult. 

Still, road expansion and bridge construction are just provisional solutions currently and in short term. Population increase will further and that is indispensable as HCMC is the country’s economic hub amid strong urbanization process. 

Newly opened to traffic flyovers and tunnels will be overloaded quickly. Therefore, besides short term solutions, the city needs to implement long term anti-traffic measures.

Since ten years back, the city has clearly determined long term solutions comprising efficient management of private vehicle use, development of city level centers north, south, east and west of the city, construction of satellite cities to reduce population density inner the city, building of ring road system to limit the number of vehicles regularly travelling into center areas. 

According to Mr. Tri, these solutions still remain value now. For the last past, the city has been unable to implement them because of many reasons so traffic jam has become complicated. 

Although it is late, the city must determine to carry out these solutions to change the situation. 

However, the city has faced challenges from capital shortage for traffic infrastructure development. It has been short of funds to complete ring road no.2, the only one in the city so far, for the last ten years.

City leaders have many times reported the issue to the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has given many instructions to help HCMC solve difficulties such as permitting the city to call for investment with many flexible ways including land use fee and tax cut for key works. 

Nevertheless, these permissions’ implementation has faced many obstacles including regulations in laws which changes come within the jurisdiction of the National Assembly.

Therefore, HCMC must promote working with ministries and agencies to solve problems within the competence of the Government. Amid the context that budget revenue leaving for the city has been cut, the Government should give priority to providing HCMC preferential capital to develop traffic infrastructure, build ring roads and routes connecting with satellite cities.

The city should be permitted to take the initiative to conduct investment procedures especially technical related matters because it has a sufficient staff of scientific cadres qualified to do that. For instance, the regulation that design of buildings from 22 storeys and higher must be approved by the Ministry of Construction should be abolished. Saving time on procedures is also saving investment costs.

In addition, the city authorities and the central Government should urgently propose the National Assembly to suitably change regulations related to the laws. NA deputies in HCMC should have opinions to speed up the progress of giving the city more self-control rights.

By TAM DUC – Translated by Hai Mien

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