To be modern, Vietnam needs to build express railway

VietNamNet Bridge – Answering National Assembly deputies about the legal basis for the Ministry of Transport to resume the express railway project, which was rejected by the National Assembly, Minister of Transport Ho Nghia Dung (photo) confirmed that the law allows his ministry to conduct research.


On November 23 deputies questioned Minister Dung about the express railway project, Vinashin’s huge debt, and the construction of the road for bauxite projects in the Central Highlands.

Deputy Nguyen Minh Thuyet asked: “What is the legal basis for the government to resume the national express railway?”

Dung said that at the previous NA session, the NA didn’t approve the north-south express railway project. However, the Ministry of Transport has carried out research works because the law allows it.

“We are doing many research projects, including the express railway. This is only research. If the NA approves, the government will invest in the project,” Dung said.

The Minister also said that his ministry has implemented feasibility research on the overhead railway linking the No. 3 belt road to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, the Hanoi – Thanh Hoa, Nha Trang – HCM City and HCM City – Can Tho railways.

Deputy Duong Trung Quoc asked: “Vietnam is still poor. The top priority at present is expanding the width of the current railway. Is this the top priority of the Ministry of Transportation?”

Minister Dung said that the government assigned his ministry to design the railway development plan, including the national express rail. The 1m-wide railway has been working for 130 years, it is unable to upgrade. Moreover, it is unfeasible to stop the north-south rail route for several years for repair.

“If Vietnam wants to develop modern railways, it is needed to build the express rail. But to construct this route, detailed research must be carried out,” Dung said.

He said the north-south railway must connect with the urban railways in Hanoi and HCM City. The construction of five urban routes in HCM City and six others in Hanoi have already started. These routes will be linked with the north-south railway in the future.

Deputy Quoc said frankly: “I’m unsatisfied with your answer. We always say that we lack capital but the government wants to build express rail, which is only available for rich people”.

Deputy Thuyet commented: “The government submitted a huge project to the National Assembly. It was not approved by the National Assembly but the government still continues research it. The Minister of Transport cited the National Assembly meeting minutes but this is not a legal document. Please don’t cite it here!”

Many deputies also expressed their attention to the construction of the road for bauxite plants in the Central Highlands.

Deputy Duong Trung Quoc said that the infrastructure facilities have been downgraded and overloaded. If the bauxite plants operate, Road 20 will be more overloaded.

Minister Dung said that the Prime Minister instructed the ministry to upgrade Roads 14 and 20 to serve the bauxite projects.

Requested by NA Chair Nguyen Phu Trong, Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc stood up to answer deputies’ questions about investment for these projects.

Phuc confirmed that the current railway can’t be widened. However, the government will continue upgrading this route to meet the demand of transportation.