The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Committee has approved the Orange Line's 235-billion-baht western section, stretching from Bang Khun Non to Min Buri, under the fast-track joint investment scheme.
The western section's investment will be in the form of the net cost PPP model, whereby the government will be responsible for land expropriation fees and the private sector will invest in the rail system and provide operating and maintenance, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who chaired yesterday's meeting.
The section's operating contract will run 30 years, Mr Somkid said.
The new section will help commuters travelling from both Bangkok's western and eastern districts to the capital's centre after it completely connects with the eastern section, running from Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri, he said.
The eastern Orange Line, scheduled for opening in 2023, is under construction.
Mr Somkid said he remains optimistic that the country's economic growth in 2018 will come in at 4%, though exports missed the government's 8% target.
Thailand's GDP growth is still able to keep pace amid global uncertainties, thanks to the government's plan to boost the local economy to create a balance between internal and external fronts, he said.
The government has created local demand through not only the Eastern Economic Corridor but also domestic tourism and investments in several projects, Mr Somkid said.
Meanwhile, Pantip Sripimol, a consultant for the State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo), said the PPP Committee has approved granting a renewed lease contract for land on which the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel is located for 20 years after the current contract lapses in 2021.
The committee delegated the state-owned Syndicate of Thai Hotels and Tourists Enterprises Ltd to renew the contract in compliance with related laws.
The committee also gave the green light to proceed to the second phase of the National Housing Authority's Transit-Oriented Development initiative in Bangkok and the capital's vicinity under the PPP law.
The project is valued at 4.23 billion baht, Ms Pantip said.
She said the Purple Line's southern extension route from Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road to Tao Poon, worth 128 billion baht, is expected to seek fast-track approval by the PPP committee early this year.