An MP from the coalition member United Thai Nation (UTN) Party has urged the government to press ahead with the southern land bridge megaproject to help bring economic prosperity to the region.
Wichai Sudsawat, who represents Chumphon, told a House sitting on Wednesday that he was concerned about the status of the project, which he believes is important for the livelihood of the people in his constituency.
The project was being pursued by the previous government and was part of the UTN’s plan to enhance connectivity in several areas — including between land and marine infrastructure — and to bring economic prosperity to the southern region.
The proposed project also forms part of the southern corridor, which comprises parts of Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces, he said.
“I’m urging the prime minister and the cabinet ministers to proceed with this megaproject,” he said. “The UTN believes this project will address many of the problems for southern people and facilitate moving cargo between Prachuap Khiri Khan and the southernmost region.”
He made the comment after Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said last week that the project has high investment costs. Other aspects, such as environmental concerns and cost-effectiveness, must also be considered, the minister said.
The southern bridge project would connect the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand via Ranong and Chumphon provinces.
It is the latest of countless proposals going back four decades or more to improve transport and trade between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf. Most have envisioned ports on either side, some with related industries or industrial estates, and a road-rail link for easy transport of goods.
Opposition from local people on environmental grounds has stalled many such projects in the past.