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Green Line train project, BMA now owed BTSC 98Bn

Green Line train project, BMA

The debt that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) owes to the Bangkok Mass Transit System Company (BTSC) for the engineering and maintenance (E&M) and operating and maintenance (O&M) costs for the first and second extensions of the Green Line sky train service has now grown to approximately 98 billion baht, according to a study that the city council commissioned. This debt was incurred for the Green Line sky train service.

According to the findings of the study, this number does not account for bank interest.

The initial portion of the Green Line expansion runs from Taksin station to Bang Wa station and from On Nut station to Bearing station. The subsequent portion of the Green Line extension runs from Bearing station to Keha station in Samut Prakan and from Mor Chit station to Khu Khot station in the province of Pathum Thani.

According to Napaphol Jirakul, a member of the city council and the head of the committee tasked with studying the Green Line train project, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) also owes the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA), a subsidiary of the Interior Ministry, for the second extension infrastructure construction. This responsibility was transferred to the BMA in 2019, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the BMA and the MRTA.

According to Napaphol, the BMA began making payments to the MRT in 2019 for the expansion between Bearing and Keha, but it has not yet made payments for the extension between Mor Chit and Khu Khot. This was accomplished when the BMA was successful in securing a loan from the Ministry of Finance.

The Central Administrative Court has been notified that BTSC has filed a lawsuit against the BMA and its wholly-owned subsidiary Krungthep Thanakom, requesting debt servicing as well as interest. Both the BMA and Krungthep Thanakom appealed the judgement to the Supreme Administrative Court after the lower court ordered them to pay BTSC. However, the appeal was denied.

The city council has suggested to the BMA that they sign a new arrangement with BTSC, which would split the costs of E&M and O&M into two different contracts. This would help fix the debt issue that they are having with BTSC. In the event that the BTSC does not concur with this, the BMA need to hand over the Green Line project to the government.

The Bangkok Governor, Chadchart Sittipunt, stated that the city’s administration will need to research the suggestion in response to the council’s recommendation. He also stated that he sees a potential to seek the council’s support for a budget that will repay some of the debt.

The debt problem that exists between BMA and BTSC continues to be a significant barrier in the way of the government fulfilling its election pledge to reduce train fares on the Green Line to 20 baht per trip.

READ MORE https://www.mrta.co.th/en/the-green-line

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