Government poised to fast-track 8 projects

Government poised to fast-track 8 projects
WRITER: PATSARA JIKKHAM & AMORNRAT MAHITTHIROOK

The cabinet agreed Tuesday to fast-track eight investment projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) programme, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said.

Implementation of the projects, which the cabinet hopes to speed up prior to the bidding process, could be shortened from 22 months to nine months, Mr Somkid said.

He said the projects designated for next year and 2017 are worth 347 billion baht. They are the Pink Line; the Yellow Line; the Blue Line (Bang Sue-Tha Phra); Bang Pa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima motorway; Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi motorway; a garbage disposal plant in Nonthaburi; garbage disposal facilities in Nakhon Ratchasima; and a marine commerce centre.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the ministry is pushing for the cabinet to include two high-speed train routes worth 246 billion baht in the PPP fast-track programme.

The two routes -- Bangkok-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Rayong -- will be shortened from two years to nine months if they are approved by the cabinet, he said.

He said some 20 investment projects worth 1.79 trillion baht that need swift implementation for next year are being tweaked before they are submitted to the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed an infrastructure investment project with China would proceed amid concerns the railway deal with China is dragging on.

He said there was constant progress in talks with Beijing over the dual-track Nong Khai-Rayong rail scheme and both sides were negotiating to overcome obstacles which include the project loan.

Gen Prayut said "symbolic" construction of the rail project would proceed to mark the 40th anniversary of Thai-Chinese bilateral ties while the negotiations continue. There are eight rounds of negotiations between Thailand and China for the Thai-China railway project will connect Nong Khai to Bangkok to Map Ta Phut. Gen Prayut said rail projects with Japan would also proceed.

He defended the Ministry of Transport's proposal for him to use special powers under Section 44 of the interim charter to fast-track projects.

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