The Transport Ministry has unveiled its plans to invest 652 billion baht in about 150 transport projects this and next year to improve the country's infrastructure.
Speaking after a seminar on policy on Wednesday, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said 64 projects would be launched this year and 31 more are in the pipeline with a total budget of 389 billion baht.
Next year, the ministry has 57 new projects in the pipeline worth a total of 263 billion baht, he said.
For motorway projects, he said 18 projects will be launched for commuters this year such as Motorway No 81 (Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi) and Motorway No 6 (Bang Pa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima) while ground will also be broken on the 5th Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge in Bueng Kan in 2024.
Thirteen new projects worth 254 billion baht will start construction before the year's end -- including Motorway No 9 (the Western Ring Road of Bangkok), an expansion of Motorway No 7 connecting to U-tapao airport and an expansion of Motorway No 5 to Bang Pa-in.
In addition, feeder services for 29 routes of the Department of Land Transport (DLT) and 21 routes of the Transport Company will be launched this year, while the ministry plans to encourage the DLT, Transport Company and Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) to use more electric buses. That said, 75 electric buses will be procured by the Transport Company next year, he said.
Mr Suriya said the ministry has expedited construction of new rail routes, the second phase of a double-track railway in seven routes, a high-speed railway and a transport network to neighbouring countries.
Nine railway projects will be launched this year such as a double-track railway running from Nakhon Pathom to Hua Hin, Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Prachuap Khiri Khan to Chumphon. The ministry also plans to push the Railway Act to be put in place this year.
The ministry has also called for more efficient maritime transport by expediting the third-phase construction of Laem Chabang Port and adding smart piers along the Chao Phraya River. The ministry has also planned to develop regional ports connecting Krabi, Phangnga and Phuket this year, Mr Suriya said.