Govt set to unveil 5 rapid rail lines
Spending will mirror that announced by last administration
The national mass-transit development plan, to be put to the Cabinet tomorrow, will include five rapid rail routes. The government will open the rail extensions to bidding early next year.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula told the National Legislative Assembly last week that spending on the rail routes would mirror that announced by the overthrown Thaksin Shinawatra administration.
He told the assembly that rail spending would boost the economy and save energy. The routes will service densely populated areas.
The routes include three planned by the Thaksin government - the Blue, Red and Purple lines. The remaining two, he said, required additional details before being finalised.
The Thaksin government estimated the three lines would cost Bt160 billion.
"The government is certain the bidding process will be transparent and we can save money by investing in the project ourselves. Bidding should start in early 2007," Pridiyathorn said.
A Transport Ministry source said the ministry had approached retired senior officials such as Kamroblak Suraswadee, former deputy transport permanent secretary, to be a director of the State Railway of Thailand and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand. The two agencies are responsible for rail development.
Kamroblak is expected to oversee bidding.
The source added that Vikrom Kromdit, chairman of the Amata Foundation and a veteran property developer, would act as a consultant for commercial property development along the routes. Income will help finance construction.
The new government has so far mentioned nothing about the previous administration's plan to create a state agency to oversee bidding, as well as management of the Skytrain - which is operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System - and the subway operated by Bangkok Metro.