House backs Thailand Land Bridge

House backs Thailand Land Bridge

The House of Representatives has endorsed the Land Bridge feasibility study with 269 votes in favour, despite concerns and objections from the opposition.

Thirarat Samretwanich, spokeswoman for the special House committee tasked with studying the 1-trillion-baht megaproject, yesterday lauded the approval.

Ms Thirarat, a Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok, said the report would be forwarded to the cabinet and could establish Thailand as a key player in logistics and transport across Asia.

The Land Bridge, which aims to develop a logistics network connecting Ranong to Chumphon, comprises deep-water ports in both provinces, a motorway cutting across the land to connect the two provinces and a railway system.

During a debate Thursday, Move Forward Party list MP Sirikanya Tansakun, who earlier resigned as a panel member, raised objections to the project.

She said she quit because it accepted the content of a report prepared by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) without thorough scrutiny.

Several members had seemed determined to green-light the project, but Ms Sirikanya expressed doubts over its cost-effectiveness and the credibility of the OTP's revenue estimate of 58 billion baht from deep-sea ports in the first year.

She said projected revenue from deep-sea ports was 8 billion baht, with 50 billion baht to come from oil trading.

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