Arkhom to kick-start 17 megaprojects

Construction News Myanmar

Newly-appointed Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has vowed to kick-start the construction of 17 megaprojects valued at 1.6 trillion baht before the end of next year as part of a plan to stimulate the economy.

He was speaking after delivering his policy address to ministry agencies on Wednesday.

The ministry will speed up the bidding process for the projects and bring forward construction to this year rather than next, Mr Arkhom said.

Five projects, which have been approved, involve construction of three motorway routes, the development of Laem Chabang port, and the Laem Chabang rail transport hub.

The ministry will also gear up investment for three double-track rail routes and four city line projects including the Blue Line (Bang Sue-Rat Burana section), Yellow Line (Lat Phrao-Samrong section), Pink Line (Khae Rai-Chaengwattana-Min Buri section) and Orange Line (Taling Chan-Thailand Cultural Centre).

The investment will also cover high-speed railway projects: the Bangkok-Pattaya section, the Bangkok-Hua Hin section, the joint Chinese and Thai development of the Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi-Nong Khai route, and the Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut section and the Thai and Japanese development of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route.

“Megaproject investment is the key to mobilising the economy during this period as exports still need to be boosted,” Mr Arkhom said.

The investment, plus the present economic stimulus and an additional 40-billion-baht injection in the fourth quarter, could help push the country’s GDP to grow by more than 1% next year, he said.

Mr Arkhom said GDP growth in the second half of this year will be better than the 2.9% achieved in the first half of the year, on the back of promising tourist arrivals and state investment.

Efforts will be made to boost basic infrastructure as an aid to the economy, such as pushing for port construction to handle cruise ships.

Support also will be given to projects that improve people’s health, such as bicycle lanes.

Projects to support trade, investment and connections to special economic zones will also be highlighted.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak will next week preside over the launch of the special economic zone in Tak’s Mae Sot district, hand over the 48km road between Myawaddy and Kawkareik to Myanmar, and attend the groundbreaking ceremony to construct the second bridge spanning the Moei River between Tak province and Myanmar’s Myawaddy town, Mr Arkhom said.

The ministry also aims to clear the “red flag”, which the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) issued to Thailand on June 18 for its failure to meet aviation safety standards, by the second quarter of next year.

The UN agency expressed “significant safety concerns” (SSCs) over Thailand’s aviation safety standards following an earlier audit of the Department of Civil Aviation.

Work is under way to produce new aviation manuals, train staff, invite foreign experts to help and examine the certifications of airlines in line with the ICAO standards, Mr Arkhom said.

An integrated ticketing system, which will combine the city’s public transport systems under a single ticket, will be launched next year, said Mr Arkhom said.

Meanwhile, the military regime has proposed a command centre to address problems with the country’s aviation regulator.

The Defence Council, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, acknowledged the proposal raised by the National Council for Peace and Order’s strategic steering committee.