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High-speed railways coming soon, Govt says

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If all goes according to plan, land and water travel should be considerably quicker throughout much of the country by the year 2020, with the first Bangkok-Pattaya high-speed rail line completed by 2018. 

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Tourists chat in front of a billboard display of high-speed trains at Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok last March. The government has said such a scene will be real by 2018 – at least for Bangkok to Pattaya. APICHART JINAKUL


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High-speed railways coming soon, govt says

Map shows the four high-speed rail projects currently in the planning stage, with the solid red line to Pattaya to be built within five years. POST GRAPHICS

If all goes according to plan, land and water travel should be considerably quicker throughout much of the country by the year 2020.

The cabinet is set to consider legislation for a 2-trillion-baht borrowing plan next Tuesday. Quick approval is expected, after which the bill will be forwarded to parliament by the end of this month for final approval, with a target to complete a wide variety of major infrastructure projects within seven years.

The nation's railways will get first priority, receiving more than 80 percent of the funding. Under the plan, the country's first high-speed train between Bangkok and Pattaya will be up and running by 2018.

Three other lines linking the capital with Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin are also scheduled to be completed the following year.

Of the remaining funds, 30.7 billion baht is to be spent on water transport system development, 243 billion baht on road development, and 12.19 billion baht on road checkpoint development.

Chula Sookmanob, director of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Office, said the government expected to invite bids for the four high-speed trains in September. Bidders will be required to specify their technology for the train in the bidding contest to enable the government to project the construction cost. Interest is expected from Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany and Spain.

Chula Sookmanob, director of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Office

Yesterday, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he supported infrastructure projects, but he disagreed with the borrowing plan.

Mr Abhisit said the projects could be implemented through the original 300-billion-baht plan using the annual budget since some of them are already included in ongoing development plans.

The government has a solid majority in parliament, however, so its borrowing plan is likely to win easy approval.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Chatrudee Theparat.

billboard – a large board on the outside of a building or at the side of the road, used for putting advertisements on ป้ายหรือกระดานใช้สำหรับโฆษณา
considerably – much; a lot มากมาย
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
consider – to give careful thought to something before making a decision พิจารณา
legislation – a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament การออกกฎหมาย
borrow – to take money from a bank, financial organisation, person, etc. and pay it back over a period of time ยืม
approval – official permission การอนุมัต
bill – a proposal for a law ร่างกฎหมาย
forward – to send onwards  ส่งต่อ
target – something you want to achieve; a particular number or amount that you want to achieve เป้าหมาย
variety – many different types of things or people ความหลากหลาย
infrastructure – a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses สาธารณูปโภค
priority – something important that needs to be done first or needs more attention than anything else สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุดเป็นอันดับแรก
funding – money given for a particular purpose  การให้เงินสนับสนุน
link – to connect เชื่อม
scheduled – planned to happen at a particular time or day ตามตารางเวลา
solid – having no holes or spaces inside แข็ง, ต่อเนื่อง
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
invite – to ask somebody to formally to do something เชิญ
bid – an offer to buy or provide something at a specific price การประมูล, การให้ราคา, การเสนอราคา
specify – to explain something in an exact and detailed way ระบุ  ชี้แจงรายละเอียด
project – to calculate based on information already known คาดคะเน, ประเมิน
construction – the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. การก่อสร้าง
implement – to make something such as an idea, plan, system or law start to work and be used นำแผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ, นำมาใช้
annual – yearly; happening every year ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
ongoing – happening at the present moment; continuing ไม่หยุดยั้ง, ต่อเนื่อง
development – the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc การพัฒนา
majority – more than 50 percent of a group เสียงส่วนใหญ่

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