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The Pattaya to Hua Hin bridge. Government discusses 900 billion baht investment.

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Thai Post

The government is looking into a so-called “Thai Bridge” that would connect Pattaya to Hua Hin, an estimated 900 billion baht investment. The project would be part of the Eastern Economic Corridor development plan aimed at improving the transportation and infrastructure in Thailand.

The 900 billion baht investment is expected to take 10 years to financially implement, according to chairperson of the government’s committee for the Mobilisation of Economic Management Measures, Pailin Chuchottaworn. The Centre for Economic Situation Administration has approved the investment project to move forward with a pre-feasibility study by the EEC’s policy committee.

“We have to admit that 900 billion baht is a huge amount of money, but it is reasonable when considering its final results. It is also cheaper than some other mega projects that are currently being accelerated. We also planned to hire local Thai people and buy local materials for the construction to reduce the cost as well.”

The bridge would join other mega-projects by the EEC like a high speed rail that will link the major airports in Bangkok… Don Mueang Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao Airport (south of Pattaya). The train is expected to travel at 250 kilometres per hour. Another project is the renovation and extension of the U-Tapao International Airport. The EEC says the project will bring in 60 million passengers a year and is expected to be in operation by 2024.

The Pattaya to Hua Hin bridge. Government discusses 900 billion baht investment. | News by Thaiger

The 80 to 100 kilometre bridge will most likely connect Pattaya to Hua Hin (likely to be just south of Pattaya in Sattahip), but also connect many provinces in the South. The bridge would likely increase tourism in Hua Hin. Pattaya draws in a larger crowd than Hua Hin with 10 times more tourists than the southern district, Pailin says.

The bridge will also need to allow shipping to traverse the Gulf of Thailand to Laem Chabang in Chon Buri.

“In truth, the tourists want to travel to both cities but they choose Pattaya first partly because Chon Buri has more attractions and more convenient transportation options. Many projects are also being built in Chonburi and the EEC in the coming future, such as a three-airport monorail and a city monorail which will potentially attract more travelers to the area, while none of the projects in the other tourist cities in the Gulf of Thailand were discussed.”

SOURCES: Pattaya News | EEC

 

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 10:42 am

    If they cure the flooding problem in Pattaya, I believe they could build this bridge. lol
    Otherwise they will have to allow the dirty ferangs in to build the bridge for them
    With foreign aid . . .

  2. Avatar

    Peter

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Surely this is a joke, how on earth could it ever recover the cost? Then there’s “built by Thais with Thai materials” remark, again surely this is another attempt at humour, I have only 3 words to say regarding this: Pattaya, Beach, Road.

  3. Avatar

    RR

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    They canot be serious. It is a pointless bridge, a waste of money, a joke. Give the money to people

  4. Avatar

    Diego

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    They took 4+ years to complete the Phuket underpasses, so yeah, this is totally doable

  5. Avatar

    Thomas

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Even if this will ever happen, how does this go in line with “no more mass tourism”?
    It is just Monday and more ridiculous ideas are already popping up, love it.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Isn’t this 171 days early?

    • Avatar

      Ross

      Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 7:39 pm

      another take on this bridge. 2 lanes either way,sea sidelane could be seafood restaurants and stalls plus car parks for Fisher man and viewing platforms without railings for selfies giving the condo jumpers another option. all rubbish could be thrown off no need for rubbish collection. motorcy races mandatory late at night to keep pattaya streets safer. a toll of 10 baht either way would help costs.

  7. Avatar

    MR Paul McHugo

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Sixty miles dosnt sound feasible to me and rand earthquakes cause ongoing problems too!

  8. Avatar

    Andy

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Goverments throughout the world must be so envious seeing all the the big think tanks in one country
    Submarines, fast trains,bridges,canals.and all of this on no income and 20 baht in the bank

  9. Avatar

    Jeff

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Building the bridge NORTH of Pattaya would better serve citizens.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:39 am

      Go much further north of Pattaya and you’re in Bangkok, and there’s a road that goes straight there.

      I just can’t believe this is serious …..

  10. Avatar

    Mike

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    They should definitely build this bridge. No more having to decide which town to go to. I could go to both places on the same holiday. Yay for me!

    Couldn’t the Thais just get the Chinese to build it for them? it would be up in no time. Of course the Thais would be forever beholden to the Chinese, but who isn’t?

    Great idea.

  11. Avatar

    Suchart

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 2:48 am

    A bridge to Hua Hin ? WHat are they smoking ? Why not build a Tower to the Moon ?

  12. Avatar

    Danny Bigspuds

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 9:17 am

    A decent car/passenger ferry system would probably be cheaper/more rewarding. Or how about training the Hua Hin Jellies to do the job? 🙂

  13. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:33 am

    “Another project is the renovation and extension of the U-Tapao International Airport. The EEC says the project will bring in 60 million passengers a year and is expected to be in operation by 2024.”

    I only just noticed this gem.

    Suvarnabhumi handled 64 million passengers last year – and U-Tapao’s going to handle the same number???

  14. Avatar

    Joe

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9:39 am

    From now on when an official needs some extra spending money they will be doing feasibility studies which cost lots of millions, this project like some many others ie bridge to koh samui, canal across Thailand etc will never happen, just feasibility studies when it’s convenient.

  15. Avatar

    tony

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    dumb idea and will have to be very high for giant container ships to pass under and what about when a breeze starts blowing they would close it. get a proper car ferry service going that sails all weather.

  16. Avatar

    anthony

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    dumb idea and will have to be very high for giant container ships to pass under and what about when a breeze starts blowing they would close it. get a proper car ferry service going that sails all weather.

  17. Avatar

    Anthony

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    an excellent. place to dump rubbish from far out into the gulf and a waste water outfall as well

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Hua Hin. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government says Covid treatment is free, but patients report hefty bills

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Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

Despite the Thai government repeatedly saying all Covid-19 patients will receive free treatment, hefty bills are being posted on social media. Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Health Service Support Department, insisted again that the treatment for Covid is free at any state or private hospital, but listed maximum amounts on coverage for individuals. The National Health Security Office says it will pay 7,200 baht in medicines for each patient, 1,500 baht per night in a hospital, field hospital or hospitel, and 3,800 baht for other items related to the virus treatment.

But the NHSO secretary-general cited bills as being much higher on average per person, insisting that even those bills will and have been paid.

“Patients don’t have to pay even when being treated in a private hospital because the NHSO will reimburse the cost. On average, we pay private hospitals about Bt100,000 per [Covid] patient with moderate symptoms, and have paid 800,000 baht to 1 million baht for severe cases.”

1 patient reported being hit with a bill of 937,979 baht for 16 days in a private hospital, which included 3 days in intensive care. Another reported a bill of 989,670 baht for 17 days in hospital, 13 of which were spent in ICU. Another person, Danai Rung, says he called the NHSO hotline, after being given a large bill, and said the hotline representative told him his hospital wasn’t covered under the NHSO.

“The claim that Covid-19 treatment is free at all hospitals is definitely untrue,” he said on Public Health Ministry’s Facebook page for Covid-19 updates. “I have had to pay 340,000 baht of the 480,000 baht bill. The insurance only covered about 140,000 baht.”

Even private hospitals are claiming that the difference in specialists’ fees and medical supplies make the cost of treatment higher compared to those getting treatment at public hospitals. The difference, unlike what the NHSO has stated, will be paid by the patient.

Thonburi Healthcare Group’s chairman, Boon Vanasin, said recently that when a patient is diagnosed with Covid-19 in a private hospital, they may either be admitted or transferred to another designated medical facility. In this case, the treatment will be free.

“But if the patient refuses the process prescribed by the government and chooses to be treated in their own hospital, then they will have to pay the difference between the medical cover provided by the government and fees charged by private hospitals.”

Patients are advised to call the NHSO 1330 hotline if they are asked to pay for Covid-19 care. So far, the Public Health Ministry says it has resolved 44 complaints involving 75 patients. All these patients have been refunded the money taken from them by private hospitals, who said the money was collected by mistake or taken as a guarantee.

The NHSO says operators of medical facilities who illegally charge for Covid care can face up to 2 years in jail or a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Economy

Thailand Consumer Confidence Index hits record low

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand's Consumer Confidence index slips again to below the pre-pandemic record. (via CNN)

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has reported that the Consumer Confidence Index has hit another new record low of 46.0 in April. The Covid-19 global pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy and consumer confidence has fallen frequently to the lowest points that it has seen since 1998.

The president of the UTTC believes that consumers generally don’t feel like there has been much of a recovery for the economy since the global pandemic began and without a stimulating event to motivate economic growth, the index is expected to continue to fall further. The university estimated that if the third wave of Covid-19 continues past the end of May the economy can expect to lose 400 to 600 billion baht.

The UTTC president stressed that the government should hasten to step up relief measures and make sure they continue relief and economic stimulus throughout the pandemic to avoid economic catastrophe. He predicted that the economy and the Consumer Confidence Index will continue on a downward slope without any hope of improvement until the vaccine rollout gets well underway towards herd immunity, and new Covid-19 infections are decreased dramatically.

Today saw another 2,101 new Covid-19 infections and 17 deaths in Thailand. Vaccination efforts are continually being stepped up, but still remain woefully slow.

The Consumer Confidence Index first started falling last year, with a drop below the previous record low in 1998 in April of 2020, when it fell to 47.2. A few months later, by July of last year, it had recovered significantly, climbing back over 50. But by March of this year, the index had fallen again to 48.5. With April’s tumble of 2.5 points, the Consumer Confidence Index pushes once again to a new record low.

SOURCE: Thai Business News

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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