Thailand has a long tradition to announce regularly major infrastructure projects, providing detailed information on financing and time frame. But Thailand has also a tradition to rarely follow the initial planning scheme, delaying projects by at least two years, if not by five years and even by over ten years. Worst was for example Suvarnabhumi Airport and the first lines of Bangkok public transport system, already planned in the early seventies and turning only into a reality in the 1990s and 2000s.
Infrastructure slow move had until now a lot to do with political instability. Each new coming government was generally keen to reopen bids for projects already attributed and confirmed.
However, the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Cha Ochan is seriously committed to accelerate Thailand most vital infrastructure projects. It has so far approved five projects worth US$930 million (Baht 334 billion) for a fast track Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.
The five projects will get off the ground in the second half of 2016 following final approval from the Cabinet and the Selection Committee. The five projects comprise three new mass-transit lines in Bangkok and two intercity highways, linking Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and in the longer term to Myanmar.
Talking to the newspaper Bangkok Post, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, in his capacity as chairman of the PPP Committee, said that the government accelerated approval process for these projects would mean that they would get the green light by next year.
“I’ve already told the National Economic and Social Development Board and the State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo) to help prepare human resource development for those infrastructure projects that were subject to delay for many years,” he said to the newspaper.
“Although the cabinet earlier this month agreed the PPP implementation process should be shortened to nine months from 22, I want to see a faster process prior to the bidding.” Bids will take place in May next year.
A second batch of Fast-track PPP projects is due to be released soon and would include two other mass-transit projects for Bangkok, the rail link between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports via Bangkok and the high speed rail linking the Thai capital to Hua Hin and Rayong. All these projects were already approved at least a decade ago…