Ho Chi Minh City seeks funding for $370 mln monorail

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An undated photo of a traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien An undated photo of a traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien

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Ho Chi Minh City has sought the government's financial aid for a VND8.4 trillion (US$371.2 million) monorail after failing to find investors for the public transport project, local media reported on Monday.
In a recent letter to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the city reportedly requested funding from the government-run fund Project Development Facility, news website Saigon Times Online said.
The fund, comprising the state's allocations and official development assistance loans from the Asian Development Bank and the French Development Agency, supports the first stages of public-private partnership projects. The costs will be reimbursed by private investors that win the bid.
According to the city's proposal, funding, if approved, will be spent on the feasibility study of the project. An international bidding will follow. 
The project envisions a 16.5-kilometer elevated monorail linking Go Vap District and District 12. Construction is expected to start in 2019 and take five years for completion.
It is one of two monorails the city has been struggling to develop. The other will connect District 8 and Binh Thanh District and is expected to cost more than VND15 trillion ($662.86 million).
In 2011, the city signed an agreement with Italian-Thai Development Plc. to develop the lines but later canceled the deal over financial discord.
The city plans to pump VND124.2 trillion (US$5.54 billion) into transport projects over the next five years, a three-fold increase from the 2011-2015 period.
More than 44 percent of the fund will come from the city budget, and the rest from different sources including the state budget and private investors.

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