Thai junta approves $1.06 billion rail project in northeast

BANGKOK - Thailand's military government on Thursday approved a 26.7 billion baht (S$1.06 billion) railway project proving quicker access to the rural northeast.

Work on the 187-km dual-track railway was expected to begin mid-year and take four years to complete, deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters.

The approval is part of the government's eight-year investment plan worth 1.9 trillion baht to help boost Southeast Asia's second-largest economy by strengthening investment, employment, transportation and tourism.

The army seized power in a coup last May to end months of political tension, but has struggled to revive the domestic economy as exports remain weak and domestic demand sluggish.

Thailand's economy grew only 0.7 per cent last year. This year, the government expects 4 per cent growth, driven by public spending.