Thailand: Khon Kaen could start light rail project

Local authorities in the city of Khon Kaen, Thailand, want to start construction for the city’s first light rail transit system by the end of the year. Feasibility studies have already been completed by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) in February.
The planned 26 km LRT network from Samran to Tha Phra sub-district will involve the construction of 18 to 21 stations. Construction of the network will take around two years to complete. The light rail project has been valued at around 15 billion baht (EUR 395 million).
Several provincial officials, including governor Somsak Changtrakul, have campaigned for the takeover of the planned network, to build it and collect the income. Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn, who chaired a meeting with the local authorities to discuss this option, said the Transport Ministry has given approval in principle to the province’s request. The OTP and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) will be consultants to the project.
However, a formal request for Khon Kaen to take over the project must be made with the Interior Ministry, which oversees the transfer of authority from the national government to provincial governments. The request will then be sent to the Transport Ministry for approval.
Khon Kaen Transit System Co Ltd, a company of five local governments which is set to oversee the light rail network, had opened bidding for the project, but winners will be announced only after the OTP’s studies are reviewed by the candidates and the company itself.

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