Ho Chi Minh City’s first line from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien has seen the highest rise of VND29.9 trillion ($1.3 billion), according to a report by the Ministry of Transport to the National Assembly based on data as of March.

The second line between Ben Thanh and Tham Luong has become VND21.8 trillion ($932 million) costlier.

Hanoi’s second line between Nhon and Hanoi Railway Station is third with VND14.5 trillion ($620 million).

The ministry blamed the increases on consultants’ lack of experience in estimating cost.

Besides, the projects have been delayed due to tardy payment to their foreign contractors, and inflation has seen to the rest, it said.

Some of the projects cost more than VND10 trillion ($427 million), which meant they had to be approved by the National Assembly, which prolonged the approval process and increased costs, it added.

None of the metro projects have started commercial operations. The Cat Linh – Ha Dong route in Hanoi, whose construction started in 2011, recently missed its April-end deadline.

Around one percent of the construction remained, and the Chinese contractor did not submit the necessary documents to authorities for a final inspection, according to the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board.

The Nhon – Hanoi Railway Station route is now half complete though only four percent of the underground part is finished, according to the board.

In HCMC, the Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien line, work on which started in 2012, faces financial challenges with bills due to be paid to the Japanese contractor Sumitomo Corporation piling up. Insiders said it is unlikely to be finished in 2020 as scheduled.

By Nguyen Hoai - VnExpress.net - June 5, 2019