Thailand turns to transport infrastructure to boost economy
By Andy Brown26 August 2020
Thailand’s government is reported to be planning on increasing spending on road and rail projects when the country’s fiscal year begins in October in a bid to boost an economy that has been hit by a Covid-19 related decrease in exports and tourism.
The financing will be a combination of the ministry’s annual budget allocation from the central government, revenue from state enterprises and income from various funds.
The transport budget in the new fiscal year will be around 232 billion baht (US$7.4 billion), up about 32% from the current period.
Thailand’s economy saw its biggest annual contraction in 22 years and a record quarterly fall in the April-June period as it fell 12.2% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019.
One of the key programmes is the development of a national rail hub in Ayutthaya, north of the capital of Bangkok. The transport plan is to connect the high-speed lines being built in the north of the country and promote the development of Ayutthaya Province.
Roengsak Thongsom, a director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, said Ayutthaya was one of three cities chosen for the “transit-oriented development projects”.
The government are also said to be looking to expand Bangkok’s mass-transit network and expressways linking several nearby provinces and the nation’s eastern seaboard. The capital contributes approximately half of Thailand’s gross domestic product but suffers from severe road congestion.