Thai Cabinet approves S$4.3 billion Bangkok rail projects

Thailand's Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith gestures during an interview on Feb 29, 2016.
Thailand's Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith gestures during an interview on Feb 29, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's Cabinet on Tuesday (March 29) approved a 111 billion baht (S$4.3 billion) project to build two new rail lines in the Thai capital, part of a wider infrastructure push by the ruling junta as it seeks to boost a sluggish economy.

Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the Cabinet approved construction of a Pink Line and a Yellow Line.

"We'll now look at the bidding process to ensure it takes place within the next three months," Mr Arkhom told Reuters.

The rail lines are part of the military government's infrastructure drive, aimed at kick-starting South-east Asia's second-largest economy.

Thailand's central bank on March 23 cut its 2016 growth forecast to 3.1 per cent, as the economy was losing steam and still faces global risks.

The government has said the rail links are needed to reduce traffic congestion in Bangkok, which currently has three Skytrain lines and one underground line.

The 34.5km Pink Line will run from Bangkok to Nonthaburi province in the north. The 30.4km Yellow Line will run from Bangkok to Samut Prakan province in the east.

Their construction will be funded on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.