ToR for slate of transport projects set for fast track

ToR for slate of transport projects set for fast track

Workers build the Jira-Khon Kaen double-track railway. The SRT has been ordered to speed up creating terms of reference for the Den Chai-Chiang Khong section. PATIPAT JANTHONG
Workers build the Jira-Khon Kaen double-track railway. The SRT has been ordered to speed up creating terms of reference for the Den Chai-Chiang Khong section. PATIPAT JANTHONG

With poll countdowns starting, the government has vowed to rev up approving terms of reference (ToR) for the planned infrastructure projects worth 300-400 billion baht within four months.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said several infrastructure projects, including those related to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Bangkok's mass transit system and the double-track rail network, are queued for cabinet approval, ToR preparation and auctions.

"The government is accelerating ToR approvals for projects worth a combined 300-400 billion baht," he said. "Once the ToR is approved, construction of these projects will be put on the fast track, playing a vital role in boosting economic growth next year."

Mr Somkid said the government has approved the ToR for the 200-billion-baht high-speed railway linking three major airports to serve the government's much-touted EEC scheme.

The EEC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha resolved on June 4 to develop the first phase of the aerotropolis within five years to support links with the high-speed rail connecting Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports.

The terms of reference are scheduled for auction via public-private partnership (PPP) this month, with the winners expected to be announced by January 2019.

The 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 operation and maintenance.

The first phase of the 6,500-rai U-tapao airport and aviation centre will be capable of handling 15 million passengers. Other projects include a second runway, a business zone, an MRO centre and air cargo facilities.

ToR for the second phase of Map Ta Phut and Laem Chabang port are also scheduled to open late this year.

Mr Somkid said he has ordered the Transport Ministry and Mass Transit Rapid Transit Authority to speed up concluding the ToR for the 23.6km Purple Line southern extension between Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road and Tao Poon, worth 101 billion baht.

The cabinet approved the project in July last year.

The Orange Line's eastern and western sections spanning Bang Khun Non-Thailand Cultural Centre-Min Buri, worth 143 billion baht, are also scheduled to open bids in early 2019, with construction due to start in late 2019 or early 2020.

Mr Somkid said the State Railway of Thailand has been told to speed up creating ToR for the 323km double-track rail route from Den Chai to Chiang Khong in the North, to which the cabinet had given the green light in July this year.

In a separate development, Mr Somkid said he has assigned the Finance Ministry to introduce additional aid measures this year to benefit elderly people and veteran soldiers.


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