The Council of Ministers of the Thailand government is expected to accept a bill that will allow the government to raise 2.2 trillion baht in off-budget spending on infrastructure investments over the next seven years. About 80 per cent of the total amount will be allocated to new rail projects that link Bangkok to several provinces. The plan also includes a 1,759 billion baht high speed rail (HSR) project in which high speed tracks will be built alongside existing rails operated by the state railway authority from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Hua Hin, and Pattaya. The plan is to eventually link Thailand (through Laos, Malaysia, and Singapore) to China. Bidding for the HSR project is expected in the third or fourth quarter of 2013, with construction starting in 2014. Thus far, Japanese and Chinese firms have expressed interest in the HSR project.