BANGKOK: A 200 billion baht (US$6.4 billion) high-speed rail project linking three key airports in Thailand has been approved by a high-level committee led by Prime Minister Chan-O-Cha, the Bangkok Post reported on Monday (Feb 26).
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Committee has reportedly approved the 260km project, which will link Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports.
All that is needed now for construction to begin is approval from the Thai Cabinet.
The high-speed link will comprise a 21km link from Bangkok’s Phaya Thai station to Don Mueang airport; a 29km line from Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi airport; and a 170km line linking Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports, the Bangkok Post reported.
At speeds of up to 250kmh, commuters will take about 45 minutes to travel from Bangkok to U-Tapao airport on the proposed high-speed link.
According to the report, initial fares are planned at about 270 baht from Bangkok’s Makkasan station to Pattaya and 330 baht from Makkasan to U-Tapao airport.
“The economic return for the entire project is 700 billion baht,” said industry minister Uttama Savanayana.
“In the first 50 years, the private sector will be allowed to run the project with an economic value of 400 billion baht. After that, the project will be returned to the government with the remaining economic value of 300 billion baht,” he said.
The airport high-rail project is part of a wider scheme to help boost infrastructure in Thailand.
On Feb 8, Thailand’s parliament approved legislation geared towards attracting more investment in an ambitious US$45 billion project in the EEC, which is located in the country’s industrial east.
The EEC bill is part of a series of measures to spur investment in the Thai economy, which the government projects to grow 4.2 per cent in 2018.
The new law provides tax breaks for investors in the EEC project, a centrepiece of the military government’s policy to boost growth and target investment into hi-tech industries. It also enables investors to rent land for up to 99 years.
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/high-speed-rail-linking-3-airports-in-thailand-wins-committee-9994686