BIDS FOR MOST of the Bt2.4 trillion worth of infrastructure projects planned for the next several years could be called within the tenure of the current military-led regime, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
He made the remark yesterday after presiding over a contract-signing ceremony for two MRT monorail projects worth a total of Bt92.44 billion. He said the regime was determined to push forward transportation links with neighbouring countries in order to make Thailand a regional hub.
Yesterday’s signing ceremony was for the Pink Line project’s Khae Rai-Min Buri section and the Yellow Line project’s Lat Phrao-Samrong section. The consortium BSR Joint Venture consisting of BTS Group Holdings, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding signed the contract with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand.
Somkid said the government would soon open bidding for the Red Line from Salaya to Hua Mak, the western Orange Line from Taling Chan to Thailand Culture Centre (Ratchada), and the southern Purple Line from Bang Yai to Ratburana. Bids will also be called for five double-track railway systems in the second half of this year.
The government also will expedite tender calls for other infrastructure projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a high-speed railway from Bangkok to Rayong, Internet network infrastructure, and other projects before the junta-led regime is succeeded by an elected administration, currently scheduled for next year.
The projects will be opened for bidding under a public-private-partnership (PPP) fast-track scheme, as was done for the Pink and Yellow Line projects. These are pilot projects to show that the private sector has the confidence to expand its investment in Thailand, Somkid said.
“Thailand will be a gateway for investors to expand into Asean countries, especially the CLMV countries,” he said, referring to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
BTS Group Holdings chairman Keeree Kanjanapas said after the signing ceremony yesterday that the company was confident in expanding its investment in infrastructure projects, especially rail systems in Bangkok and the provinces, particularly in the EEC.
He said construction of the two monorail systems would begin shortly and would be in operation by 2020.
BSR Joint Venture yesterday also signed three other contracts to support the two monorail projects. They are a financial agreement to support loans for this project from Bangkok Bank, which will lead the search for funding for this project, a construction contract with Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and a contract with Canada-based Bombardier to provide mechanical and electrical systems.
Under the PPP fast-track agreement, the BSR Joint Venture group has established two new companies to manage the two monorail systems. They are Northern Bangkok Monorail Co to operate the Pink Line and Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co to operate the Yellow Line.
BSR Joint Venture has proposed that the government extend the Pink Line by 2.8 kilometres to Muang Thong Thani, and the Yellow Line by 2.6km from Ratchada Station to link with the Green Line at Phahon Yothin Station. The two extensions would cost a total of Bt6 billion, to be invested by BSR Joint Venture.
The extensions would add to passenger convenience and boost their numbers from the earlier estimate of 120,000 a day, Keeree said.
He said the two monorail projects would generate a return on investment averaging 8 per cent a year. With the addition of four stations under the extended-route proposal, this return could reach into the double digits.