PM demands clarity in Bt2tn bill
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday met with agencies involved in the development of the Bt2.2-trillion Infrastructure Development Bill, asking them to make sure the details of the projects are clear.
She stressed that such complete clarity will be crucial if the bill is to be passed by Parliament, said PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn.
Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, said that a revised draft bill would give authority to the Finance Ministry to borrow Bt2 trillion to invest in the country’s transport infrastructure.
The details of all major infrastructure projects under this programme have already been put in the draft, especially those requiring Environment Impact Assessments. Any project that has yet to pass an EIA, but is considered a major investment project, will be identified in the draft bill as requiring investment. These will include the railway system and dual-tracking, the four high-speed-rail routes, and 10 mass-transit routes in Greater Bangkok.
"We will hold another meeting on the issue on Friday to come to a final conclusion before submitting the draft to the Cabinet on March 19," he said.
In a related matter, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning is working out the specifications of the high-speed-rail system. A call for proposals will be conducted first to enable it to evaluate accurately the required investment for all routes.
It is believed that countries with high-speed-rail technology such as Japan, China, and South Korea will propose construction and maintenance prices. The Thai government will invest in the rolling stock and will open tenders for private companies to operate the service.
The Marine Department yesterday disclosed that it had seven projects worth Bt30 billion that would come under the infrastructure investment scheme, which is to be carried out through 2020.
These include marine stations in Angthong province and on the Pasak River, a dam to raise the water level for navigation on the Chao Phraya River, ports in Samut Sakhon and Chumphon province, a second port in Songkhla, and a deepwater port at Pak Bara, Satun, the department’s director-general Sornsak Sansombat said.