MRTA to borrow locally to fund B200bn expansion

Construction News

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority will tap local sources to borrow more than 200 billion baht next year to fund construction of five electric railways, Pongpanu Svetarundra, deputy permanent secretary for finance, said Monday.

Mr Pongpanu an MRTA director, said that the state enterprise expected lower interest rates from local financial institutions. Foreign institutions also were offering to lend, as they are aware the government is determined to complete new railways to stimulate economic development, but the subway operator preferred local lenders, he said.


Construction of the subway tunnel is underway as part of an extended route of Blue Line passing under the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. (Photo by Phrakrit Juntawong)

The five rail lines are extended sections of Blue Line from Bang Kae to Phutthamonthon Sai 4, Green Line from Mor Chit via Saphan Mai to Khu Khot, Orange Line from Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri, Pink Line from Kae Rai to Min Buri and Yellow Line from Lat Phrao to Sam Rong.

Each of the five projects is estimated at about 50 billion baht and government investment, especially in rail, could help speed up economic recovery, Mr Pongpanu said.

He also said that the MRTA was due to repay about 20 billion baht in local debt in 2015. The sum was borrowed to extend the Blue Line from Bang Sue to Tha Phra and from Hua Lamphong to Bang Kae.

The Finance Ministry will issue bonds with five- and seven-year maturities to repay the loans, Mr Pongpanu said.