Ms Traisuree explained that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob delivered an update on the two projects at the mobile Cabinet meeting, reported state news agency the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT).
Regarding the decades-in-coming Patong Tunnel project, at last report budgeted at around B14.177 billion, Mr Saksayam explained that the Expressways Authority of Thailand (EXAT) had already submitted the required project information to the State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO), who later acknowledged and ordered EXAT to quickly file land-usage requests to the Royal Forest Department.
“The land-use request is expected to be approved by the end of this year. As planned, the process of selection for private companies to join the project will take from June 2021 to Jan 2023. The project construction will be from Feb 2023 to Jan 2027, and [the tunnel will] open for service in Feb 2027”, Ms Traisuree said.
Regarding the much-touted Phuket Light Rail project, the latest progress update was that the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) had been authorised to operate the light rail project in Phuket following the authority being published in the Government Gazette on April 6 last year, Ms Traisuree added.
“According to the plan, the Cabinet will approve a form of investment of the project in October 2021 [sic], followed by the selection of private companies to join the project through investment from March 2022 to March 2023,” she said.
“Construction of the project will start in April 2023 and [the light rail will] open for service in July 2026,” she added.
Ms Trisuree also explained that the cost of Phase 1 of the project will be about B35.201 billion.
However, MRTA’s Project Development Department Director, Gardphajon Udomdhammabhakdi confirmed to The Phuket News last year that the latest budget figure for only Phase 1 of the project stood at B34.8bn.
The B400mn increase in the budget needed announced yesterday remains unexplained.