No delay to 6 mass transit plans

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) on Wednesday said it will continue to develop all six mass transit rail lines in Greater Bangkok using the Public Debt Management Act, even though rail expansion projects face delays while the 2-trillion-baht infrastructure bill is before the Constitution Court.

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MRTA governor Yongsit Rojsrikul said the projects could proceed under the debt management act which allows the government to borrow not more than 20% of the annual expenditure budget for each fiscal year, equivalent to about 500 billion baht. 

Last month, the Finance Ministry said it planned to borrow under the Public Debt Management Act to kick-start infrastructure megaprojects if the 2-trillion-baht borrowing bill is derailed.

The fate of the massive borrowing bill, earmarked mostly for high-speed trains, is uncertain after the Constitution Court accepted the Democrat Party's petition against the constitutionality of the bill. The ruling is expected to take a while.

Mr Yongsit said payments would be made gradually every year until the projects are completed and each electric rail line is expected to soak up about 20 billion baht which would not exceed the required limit set by the law. 

The State Railway of Thailand’s planned construction of dual-track train systems nationwide could also be implemented using budgets under the same debt management act, he added. 

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