Thai court deals knockout blow to transport plan

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Associated Press

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 7:33 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court ruled that the government's ambitious 2 trillion baht ($62 billion) plan to build high speed rail and other transport infrastructure was unconstitutional and must be ended.

The Constitutional Court's ruling Wednesday was the latest blow to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been the target of four months of anti-government protests.

The court sided with the opposition Democrat Party, which had launched the legal challenge saying that a law authorizing the 2 trillion baht of borrowing would raise public debt to unacceptably high levels and reduce transparency by bypassing the annual budget process.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said he hoped the next government would pursue the projects, which included four high-speed rail lines. The 7-year spending plan was expected to be a significant contributor to economic growth.

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