Regarding the debate over borrowing to fund the two trillion baht infrastructure, project, I suggest repaying the loan through property taxes. Any infrastructure project that is economically justifiable will make the surrounding land more attractive, and thereby increase land values more than the cost of the projects. The community only needs to reclaim its money through taxes at a justifiable rate to pay for the infrastructure it provided.
London's Jubilee Line subway route cost the taxpayers 3.5 billion (155.77 billion baht), but increased land values by a conservative estimate of 13 billion.
If the government does not recapture the value created, they give it away to the landowners. As Winston Churchill said: ''Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains _ and all the while the landlord sits still. Every one of those improvements is effected by the labour and cost of other people and the taxpayers ... [yet the] value of his land is enhanced.''
LOOK TO YASOTHON
About six or seven years ago the city of Yasothon managed to get sufficient government funds to develop a ''megaproject''. The plan, which was to develop a lake at the edge of town into a park, mall, promenade and community centre, started off quite enthusiastically. The lake was about one kilometre in diameter so a road had to be constructed around it first. It took a while, but was finally completed.
Unfortunately, that is as far as the project ever got.
It seems that the money to build the theatre, shops, restaurants and walkways had disappeared.
I will not speculate as to where it went, but I will speculate about the future of Thailand in a few years.
I suspect we are going to see a lot of high speed rail lines, but no high speed trains. I suspect we are going to see a lot of unfinished government buildings and also a lot of cement monuments standing much like Stonehenge, with no roads resting on them.
Why people keep asking for transparency from the Thai government is a mystery to me. It couldn't possibly get any more transparent.
What bothers me is how any administration can indebt a nation for years without first putting it to the people in a referendum.
SEX IS SECONDARY
I wish to congratulate Arglit Boonyai on his outstanding and well-reasoned column in yesterday's Post on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Arglit's concluding sentence admirably sums up the often misused stance against same-sex marriage, that it sets a bad example to children: ''Everybody knows that bad marriages set a bad example for children, not who is married to whom.''
BULLET TRAINS NOT FOR BROCCOLI
I've been waiting for comments in the Bangkok Post on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's statement that relatively cash-strapped and hard-working Thai farmers will use the proposed high speed train system to transport their vegetables to market more quickly and thereby reduce the amount of vegetables thrown away as a result of being unfit for human consumption, which seemingly results from the current slow distribution system.
Well, I have never seen any French onion sellers using the TGV in France for high speed marketing and distribution, nor have I witnessed vegetable farmers flocking to get on the bullet trains in Japan or Taiwan.
But I am open to having my perspectives challenged!
GET TOUGH AND SAVE LIVES
Regarding the piece ''Higher Songkran crash toll predicted'' in yesterday's Post, it is appalling that there have been no significant improvements in the government's accident prevention campaigns for the past two years.
First of all, the authorities should scrap their traditional festive type campaigns and concentrate on the strict enforcement of the law on the roads and at all public activities.
Thee is no need for civilian volunteers. Reinforce police departments with soldiers if necessary. All vehicles involved in traffic violations should be confiscated, on the spot, and held until fines are paid at police stations.
Punish the drivers immediately for their violations and let their passengers find other means of transport to continue their trips. Also, the existing fines and penalties for drink-driving should be doubled or tripled, and offenders' driving licences should be suspended for no less than one year.
FREE SPACE COULD BE GREEN SPACE
In response to Edward Kitlertsirivatana's commendable call for more public discussion halls to be built rather than more shopping malls, I'd like to point out that there is already a plenitude of empty hotel ballrooms as well as private and public halls that would be quite suitable for public forums.
What Bangkok desperately needs is more green space; public parks to encourage better health for its citizens and sports for its youth. Almost every block of this great city has large empty plots or abandoned construction sites. As many of these landowners are waiting for favourable market forces or financing, there should be a law that allows the city to convert land left uninhabited or unattended for more than five years into parks or other recreational areas.
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