Four mass transit contracts set to boost economy next year

Four mass transit contracts set to boost economy next year

The state plans to open bidding for the construction of four electric railways next year, indicating bright prospects of a huge amount of money being injected into the economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak assures the Thai-Chinese rail project will continue despite problems with part of the agreement. Thanarak Khunton

The Orange Line (Thailand Cultural Centre-Min Buri), the Pink Line (Kae Rai-Min Buri), and the Yellow Line (Lat Phrao and Samrong) are the first three routes to go to bidding in the first half of 2016 while that of the extended Purple Line (Tao Pun to Rat Burana) is expected by the end of the year, according to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).

"We will see significant progress in these rail projects next year," Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said yesterday after meeting senior officials from the MRTA and the State Railway of Thailand.

The MRTA is going ahead with its new electric railways in Bangkok after completing the construction of the 23km Purple Line, an elevated rail track linking Khlong Bang Phai in Nonthaburi and Tao Pun in Bangkok and the first rail extension to the capital's 20km subway running from Bang Sue to Hua Lamphong.

The four rail projects will not only bring city folks closer to a web of the city rail routes but, in Mr Somkid's view, will also deliver another shot in the arm to the economy.

"If things go as planned, a large amount of money will flow into the economy," Mr Somkid said, adding the new infrastructure will boost economic growth after years of slowdown.

The investment in these rail projects will be drawn from the state budget and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

According to the MRTA, the 34.5km Pink Line and the 30.4km Yellow Line, which will be carried out under the PPPs, required up to 56.6 billion baht and 54.6 billion baht respectively. The two projects are scheduled for bidding in May.

The 21.2km Orange Line, which is expected to go to bidding in March, costs 110 billion baht.

The extended Purple Line, which runs 19.8km from the north to the south of Bangkok, needs investment worth about 91.7 billion baht.

The government expects to call for their construction bids at the end of next year.

Authorities will also shorten the period for selecting private constructors from six to four months so building can start as soon as possible.

The MRTA will "try to sign a contract with a winning company between August and September next year", according to MRTA governor Peerayudh Singpatanakul.

The Purple Line extension is a mix of an elevated track and subway and will pass important venues like the new riverside parliament in the Kiakkai area.

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