The Tan Vu - Lach Huyen Highway in the port city of Hai Phong (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)  - The Ministry of Transport’s main task this year is to speed up transport projects, Deputy Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong said at a meeting to review 2017 and set goals for 2018 in January 18.

Dong said that last year, 22 new transport projects were completed and became operational. The ministry also started another 12 projects.

Its agencies also studied key projects, including pre-feasibility investment reports for parts of the eastern North-South Expressway over the next two years. It also did feasibility reports on land clearance, compensation and resettlement for the Long Thanh International Airport Project.

The ministry has also reviewed planning and options for the expansion of Tan Son Nhat International Airport and completed a scheme to select consultants for the North-South express railway, which has received assistance from Japan.

“This year, the ministry will continue urging investors to speed up transport projects, particularly key projects and those that receive proper funding,” Dong said.

He said that the ministry also wanted to speed up urban railway projects, especially the Cat Linh- Ha Dong Urban Railway in Hanoi which is scheduled to open this year.

Work on the eastern North-South Expressway, Long Thanh airport project or express railway would be closely supervised, Dong said, adding that any problems arising during the project implementation would be reported to the Government and National Assembly for timely address.

Road projects under Build-Operation-Transfer (BOT) contracts were the subject of much public concern last year because of drivers’ protests about high toll fees.

Deputy Minister Dong said that last year, the ministry examined and approved financial reports of 55 road projects under BOT and Build-Transfer (BT) contracts. The examination provided the cost of the projects, based on which toll fees and toll collecting terms were set.

Last year, toll fees at 35 toll stations on BOT roads were reduced after the Government passed resolution No 35/NQ-CP on assisting and developing business.

During the year, about 20,080 traffic accidents were reported, killing 8,280 people and injuring more than 17,000 people. Compared to 2016, the number of traffic accidents fell about 7 per cent, the number of deaths fell 4.67 percent and the number of those injured fell 11.62 percent.

This year, the transport ministry will continue to boost information on traffic laws to raise public awareness. It will also take stronger actions to curb speeding, drunk driving, and overloaded vehicles.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung praised the contributions of the transport sector to national socio-economic development last year.

However, there remained problems to solve, such as traffic jams, traffic accidents, toll fees at BOT projects, high transport costs and the imbalance among means of transport, especially the sluggish uses of railways, which put high pressure on roads, Dung said. -VNA