InfoQuest (August 01, 2019) -- Regarding the expenditure budget for the departments for fiscal 2020, the subdivisions under the Ministry of Transport has been urged to review the budget framework for fiscal 2020, so as to determine the budget allocation for projects and their priorities. The programs under review include ongoing projects, new projects and policy projects led by the government, according to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob. Representatives from the Budget Bureau have discussed guidelines for preparing the national budget for fiscal 2020. The budget request is due on August 9 and relevant departments are demanded to submit projects with a budget of no more than 1 billion baht on August 2 and projects under 1 billion baht on August 6.
The Ministry of Transport intends to push for five programs, including the scheme to increase the consumption of rubber to help rubber farmers earn sustainable income. To achieve the goal, the ministry asked the departments involved in construction projects to consider adjusting the construction form so as to increase the use of rubber. For example, rubber-asphalt mixtures can be used to pave roads or para slurry seal is adopted in construction. Currently, rubber is still underused, and farmers tend to gain only 13 baht per square meter of rubber road.
Thus, it calls to develop more ways to exploit rubber. For example, rubber can be applied to various equipment, bandage, sleeper, as well as water and air transport. The ministry is going to submit the research report to the Cabinet on August 6.
"In construction, there are many ways to use rubber as a mixture, which may add extra cost. However, it is in the interests of farmers, for farmers can directly gain the proceeds. Therefore, this program must be proceeded." Mr. Saksayam said, "I have already exchanged views on this issue with the minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC). The Ministry of Transport will speed up feasibility research, and is going to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the MOAC. Under the MOU, the MOAC is at the helm of relevant production to generate extra income for rubber farmers. I believe these measures will increase the consumption of rubber by hundreds of thousands of tons."
With regard to the land acquisition budget for the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi Motorway, the transport minister revealed: "According to the Budget Bureau, relevant budgets have already been allocated, but the allocation shall be subject to final approval by Thailand's Office of the Council of State." As for the projects that are under the review of the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) or are reviewed in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the transport minister will coordinate with relevant departments to expedite the progress, especially for such projects as under the strategic transport program or Public-private Partnership (PPP).
Speaking of the maximum 120 km/hour speed limit policy, Mr. Saksayam said he has already commissioned Mr. Chaiwat Thongkoon, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Transport, to coordinate with the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) and the Department of Land Transport to work out a program, and then work with the policy to jointly carry forward the policy. Conclusions shall be drawn within a month. Meanwhile, before the policy is implemented, it is necessary to inform the public first to enhance their understanding. The policy will be only applied to selected four-traffic lane roads. Trucks and cars travelling below 80 km/hour need to use the two left lanes, and vehicles with a speed of 80-120 km/hour use the two lanes on the right. In addition, the U-turn points on the right shall be added with waiting area for turning to avoid the vehicles waiting for turning causing gridlock on the fast lanes on the right.
Mr. Saksayam stressed that the policy to lower train fares will certainly be pushed for. It is expected to draw a definite conclusion within three months. The fare of 15 baht can be realized in some selected sections, such as the Bang Yai-Tao Poon for it is the line invested by the government. PPP projects must go through serious consideration. That is because relevant contract terms require studies. The transport minister urges the public to wait in patience, as only by doing more research can the ministry find suitable approach that will not lay burden on the national budget.
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