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Rail transit plan given greenlight


May 3, 2008

Rail transit plan given greenlight

Thailand's Railway and Mass Transit System Development Committee Thursday approved a strategic plan to develop the national rail transit system with massive investment of over 360 billion baht ($1=31 baht).

Transport Minister Santi Prompat said the committee chaired by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej gave a green light to the 3-pronged strategic plan for development of a 2,644-kilometre long rail transit system requires total investment of 367.31 billion baht.

The plan focuses on developing Thailand's transport system to attract further investment and reduce transport costs as much as possible.

The Transport Ministry, the State Railway of Thailand and other agencies were assigned to prepare the plan in detail. Private companies will be invited to invest in the project.

He said the Industry Ministry would accelerate establishing industrial estates along railways to distribute investment in provincial areas and reduce transport costs as well.

Initially, the proportion of the rail transit would increase to 10 percent from the current 2.84 percent in the overall transport system.

National Economic and Social Development Board Secretary-General Amphon Kitti-amphon said the rail transit development plan includes improvement of the existing 4,000-km rail transit system with a budget of Bt39 billion, expansion of dual-track railways to link four routes extending 2,344 km to Mekong River Basin countries at Bt320 billion, and development of a high-speed express railway traveling at 160 km/hour to tourist sites.

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