Tue, Sep 11, 2012 - Page 13 News List

CEPD backs Kaohsiung’s plan for light rail system

DEBT FIGURES:Greater Kaohsiung has the highest average debt per capita of the 22 local governments at NT$78,400, with Miaoli County coming in second

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) yesterday approved the Kaohsiung City Government’s plan to build a light rail system to complement its Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT) system, hoping a light rail system will boost traffic volume for mass rapid transit in the city.

The building of the 36-station and 22.1km light rail system may be differentiated into two stages, with the first stage scheduled to break ground by the end of this year and begin operation in the middle of 2015, the council said in a statement.

The second stage of the plan is set to start operation by 2019, the statement said.

“The launch of the light rail system may raise daily traffic volume for the city’s mass rapid transit by 52.7 percent,” KMRT Bureau director-general Chen Tsun-yung (陳存永) told a media briefing in Taipei.

The daily traffic volume of KMRT averaged 160,000 passengers in the second quarter, remaining lower than the break-even level, further deepening the system’s losses, Chen said.

The light rail system could link the two lines of the KMRT and boost traffic for the overall mass transit system in the city, he added.

Building the light rail system is expected to cost NT$16.54 billion (US$556.15 million), with the self-liquidation ratio reaching 39.64 percent, the statement showed.

Excluding the expense of land and self-liquidation costs, the city government is to spend NT$1.8 billion on the plan, with the central government paying the other NT$6.36 billion, Chen said.

In other news from Greater Kaohsiung, the average debt per capita in the city amounted to NT$78,400 at the end of last month, maintaining the highest level among the 22 local governments in the nation, Ministry of Finance data showed yesterday.

Miaoli County had the second-highest debt per capita at NT$71,000, followed by the NT$62,000 debt per capita recorded for Taipei City, ministry statistics showed.

Kinmen and Lienchiang counties reported zero debt for the third straight month, according to ministry’s data.

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