Government to shell out B900bn on transport
The government plans to spend almost 900 billion baht to develop all modes of transport this year.
Government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Monday the investment plan will comprise 36 infrastructure projects, covering air, marine and land transportation, worth a total of 895.7 billion baht.
The projects include double-track railways, electric trains which link suburban areas and urban areas, motorways, ports and airports development.
He said the ferry boat service linking Pattaya in Chon Buri to Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan was due to start on Jan 1 but was postponed due to strong winds and waves in the Gulf of Thailand. It is expected to start on Thursday.
Lt Gen Sansern said once the ferry service begins, it will cut the travel time from Pattaya to Hua Hin and vice versa from 4-5 hours to an hour and 45 minutes. This will help boost the economies of the two coastal towns, he added.
The government also plans to develop ferry services to take both people and vehicles and expand the routes to Hua Hin-Bang Pu (Samut Prakan), Pattaya-Bang Pu, and Pattaya-Pran Buri (Prachuap Khiri Khan), he said.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said of the 36 projects, three double-track railways linking Lop Buri-Pak Nam Pho (Nakhon Sawan), Hua Hin-Prachuap Khiri Khan's Muang district and Nakhon Pathom-Hua Hin, are ready to begin construction. In addition, the Thai-Sino railway project, which is divided to two sections -- Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong-Khai -- is expected to have its contract signed early this year.
For airport infrastructure, the Airport Rail Link's extension to Don Mueang airport will open for bidding this year. In addition, improvements will be made to the baggage handling system at Suvarnabhumi airport.