The Nation has a letter to the editor by serial letter-to-the-editor writer John Arnone:
Let me get this straight. The Thai government encourages the building of automobile manufacturing plants here. Then the banks offer unprecedented financing plans to allow people to buy them. As a grand finale, the government offers first-time buyers a Bt100,000 discount to buy a new car.
Now we have new cars all over city streets, but not many on the highways. This is because 90 per cent of the highways in Thailand are two-lane roads, one lane in each direction. The US has monitored what few two-lane highways still exist there and found them to have the highest accident rates.
So what does the Thai government do? Does it borrow Bt2 trillion to begin a programme of widening the highways or possibly even an aqueduct to run off some of the water heading south every year? Of course not – that would be too logical. Rather, it borrows that money to build a high-speed train system.
Observation balloons, aircraft carriers, almost a submarine, a high-speed train and maybe even a nuclear power plant. So you say, “If that’s the way you feel, why don’t you leave?” Why would I? It’s more fun staying here and watching the Keystone Kops revisited.
Dr. Chadchart Sittipunt, Minister of Transport in a presentation to the Thai-Japanese Association outlines the spending for the 2 trillion baht infrastructure project. Below are the 4 main items:
- Infrastructure Development Programs : Railway network $13.4 Billion (double tracks, upgrade signaling and telecommunication system, and underpasses and overpasses to reduce 108 rail-road intersections)
- Infrastructure Development Programs : High Speed Train $ 26 Billion
- Infrastructure Development Programs : Mass Rapid Transit $15.7 Billion
- Infrastructure Development Programs : Road Network $9.2 Billion
On the road network, the details:
• Road expansion from 2 to 4 lanes – 45 Projects, 1,864 km.
• Rehabilitation Main corridor – 12 routes, 235 Projects, 2,162 km.
• Motorway – 3 routes, 326 km.
• Highway supporting AEC connectivity – 11 projects, 292 km.
• Highway supporting Gateways, SBIA, LCB port, & Chiangsan port –
• Royal coast – 328 km.
BP: Sure the high speed trains are a major focus of news articles about the 2 trillion baht infrastructure project, although the amount of money to be spent on the high speed trains is only 40% of the financial value of the entire project, but many news articles also mention new money for highways or road transportation. Surely, before you send a letter to the editor to rant you should do a bit more research first…*
* it was only last week that the Bangkok Post had an article with the headline “Yingluck vows to build 4-lane road in Buri Ram” and the first line of the article stated “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has promised to construct a four-lane road in Buri Ram as part of the government’s 2-trillion-baht infrastructure scheme”….