Sat, Apr 22, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Taipei County drops BOT model for railway project

POLICY FLIP-FLOP In response to the Kaohsiung MRT corruption scandal, the Taipei County government has decided to build, own and operate its own belt railway


Taipei County's belt line rapid transit railway project will no longer follow the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model in view of the corruption scandal involving the Kaohsiung mass rapid transit (MRT) railway project, Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) said yesterday.

Chou told a press conference that the county government has decided to build, own and operate its own MRT system after seeing how the BOT model adopted by the Kaohsiung City Government for its MRT railway project was used for alleged illegal profiteering by officials working in collusion with contractors.

Another reason for the policy reversal is that the county government wants to ensure the quality of the construction project and give Taipei County residents a safe MRT system, he said.

Chou said the central government had approved the route of the belt line for the first stage of the project and that the county government's reversal of its policy would not affect the progress of the construction.

Chou acknowledged that the change would cause the budget to rise by NT$16 billion (US$495.4 million), of which the county government hopes that NT$3.1 billion can come from a central government subsidy.

As for the remaining NT$12.9 billion, the county government estimates that benefits accruing from land development projects surrounding the belt line will total NT$13.5 billion within 12 years.

Chou urged the central government to support the Taipei County Government with additional funds. He said that if the central government denied his request, he would appeal to the Legislative Yuan for help.

The county government will work out a new budget plan and a detailed feasibility analysis, Chou said, adding that the entire project was expected to be completed in 2013.

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