Wed, Nov 09, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Hsieh rules out more funding for high-speed rail

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government will not increase investment in the nation's first bullet-train project, but is looking forward to gaining another three seats on the board, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said in a TV interview on FTV's Challenge the Policies program late on Monday night.

The government has already pumped NT$12.5 billion (US$371 million) into the project through various state-run enterprises, before injecting another NT$7.5 billion last month.

"If we increase investment in the project any further, I fear that people would begin to hate us," Hsieh said.

The new investment has resulted in the government becoming a major shareholder in the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵), the contractor of the train service, with a 37 percent stake.

Hsieh had been hoping that the THSRC would organize a provisional board meeting to discuss the possibility of increasing the number of board members.

The government previously had an 11.89 percent stake in THSRC, thus securing two seats on the board.

On the additional three seats, Hsieh said he was hoping that one of the three vacancies could be occupied by a professional accountant.

THSRC vice president Arthur Chiang (江金山) said the company would hold a provisional board meeting next Tuesday to discuss the approval of three new board directors representing the government.

Chiang said the firm needs to raise another NT$51.3 billion to complete the project, scheduled to start operations next Oct. 31.

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