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|Velaro RUS high-speed train of Russia. Source: Siemens|
In its recent report submitted to the government, the MPI put the total investment value of the North-South High-Speed Railway project at around $26 billion.
Regarding the speed, experts from the Netherlands and Germany calculated that with the speed of 200 km per hour, the transfer time between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through the North-South High-Speed Railway would take 8 hours, which is appropriate for a journey of this length.
Meanwhile, the MoT proposed a plan to upgrade the current North-South railway with the speed at 320km/h and the tentative investment of about $58.7 billion over 30 years from 2020 to 2050.
According to La Ngoc Khue, former Deputy Minister of Transport, said that the total investment capital of $58.7 billion will put heavy pressure on the economy. Notably, in order to implement this upgraded project within 30 years, the state budget for transport infrastructure will have to be doubled every year, meaning that the construction of other infrastructure projects may be suspended to prioritise the North-South railway project.
“In addition, the speed at 350km per hour is not feasible for transporting passengers and cargo. Furthermore, with this speed and the capacity of 364,000 passengers per day there will be a surplus transport capacity as passenger volume is forecast to be only 40 per cent of the designed capacity by 2050," said Khue.
Expert Nguyen Minh Phong was also concerned that the $58.7 billion investment capital will increase the public debt, putting pressure on the state budget. Besides, the authorities also find the project highly inefficient compared to its investment capital. The speed of 200kmph is feasible and safe enough considering the harsh weather conditions of Vietnam that increase the incidence of technical mistakes.
Most recently, the prime minister has just decided to establish a State Appraisal Council to appraise the pre-feasibility study of the project. Accordingly, the Minister of Planning and Investment was assigned as the chairman of the council, while a Deputy Minister of Planning and Investmentas vice chairman.