Public-Private Partnership Scheme to expand
The Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith recently announced plans to submit two high-speed rail projects for consideration as projects to be undertaken within the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
The projects are the 193.5-kilometre Bangkok to Rayong route, which is expected to cost around 153 billion baht and the 211-kilometre Bangkok to Hua Hin route, valued at about 94.7 billion baht.
The Transport Minister said both were likely to be submitted for approval by the PPP committee by June or July and, if approved, would be the sixth and seventh such projects coming under the PPP umbrella.
In November 2015, the government put five projects, worth a total of 334
billion baht, under the PPP scheme. They are expected to start in the second half of this year.
The five projects consist of three mass-transit routes in Bangkok: the Pink Line from Khae Rai to Min Buri; the Yellow Line from Lat Phrao to Samrong, and the Blue Line extension from Hua Lamphong to Bang Kae and Bang Sue to Tha Phra. These three routes were worth a combined 194 billion baht. The other two projects are interprovincial motorways, one linking Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district with Nakhon Ratchasima and the other linking Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district with Kanchanaburi. These two are worth 140 billion baht.
The 1.435 metre-gauge high-speed rail linking Bangkok and Rayong forms part of the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development plan. This aims to build up Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces as locations for a high-technology industry cluster.
At present, the Bangkok-Rayong route is being subjected to an environmental
impact assessment (EIA), while the EIA for the Bangkok-Hua-Hin route has been completed and is pending approval by the National Environment Board.
The government has announced plans to see the construction of 20 megaprojects, valued at 1.6 trillion baht overall, begin during this year as part of its plan to try and stimulate the-still sluggish domestic economy.
The cabinet has already approved 11 projects, valued at 460 billion baht, and these are expected to be completed by 2022. Eight of the projects have already started construction. The proportion of private investment across the 11 approved projects amounts to 25 percent of the total investment.
The Transport Minister believes the proportion of private investment in the infrastructure projects will increase to around 30 percent once the cabinet approved the two high-speed rail projects in the PPP fast-track scheme.
The chairman of the BTS Group, Keeree Kanjanapas, has suggested the government should be more generous in its attempts to attract private investment as he said infrastructure projects require large investment and there is a long wait to receive a return.