November 20, 2013

Thai Senate approves high-speed funding bill

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THAILAND'S Senate voted on November 20 to approve a bill which will allow the government to borrow up to Baht 2.2 trillion ($US 69bn) over the next seven years to finance infrastructure projects, including the first phase of the country's high-speed network.

The bill, which was approved by 63 votes to 13, enables the Finance Ministry to borrow from domestic and international lenders, avoiding the need to seek funds through the annual government budget process. In total, 80% of the funding will be allocated to rail projects.

The first phase of Thailand's high-speed programme comprises a network of four lines radiating from Bangkok, running southwest to Hua Hin, southeast to Pattaya, northeast to Nakhon Ratchasima, and north to Phitsanulok.

In addition, the bill will fund the expansion of the Bangkok metro system and track-doubling on the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) metre-gauge network.

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