Wed, Feb 09, 2000 - Page 1 News List

MRT networks to link up with high-speed rail

TRANSPORTATION Officials foresee significant reductions in commute time in four cities where the MRT systems and high-speed rail will be connected

By Erin Prelypchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's multibillion-NT dollar high-speed rail network will eventually connect with the planned metro mass rapid transit (MRT) systems in the cities of Taichung, Hsinchu, Taoyuan and Tainan, the transport ministry said yesterday.

"We anticipate that this will bring a huge saving in commute time for people around the island," said Liao Ching-lung (廖慶隆) director of the ministry's Bureau of High Speed Rail (高鐵工程局).

The 300km railway, scheduled for completion in 2005, will take passengers from Keelung in the north to Kaohsiung in the south in an estimated 90 minutes.

Another two-line MRT project is now scheduled to break ground in Kaohsiung this year, but MOTC officials did not say whether this network would be connected with the high-speed rail terminal in the southern port city.

Liao declined to put a timetable on the proposed MRT projects, but said he hoped they would be finished the same time as the rail network.

"Our time frame is not very clear right now. The Cabinet has to decide on a schedule for construction. We can only make suggestions," he said. Liao also declined to speculate as to which network is most likely to open first.

"How quickly the project gets off the ground also depends on private-sector involvement. We are very eager to attract private-sector financing and participation in the project," he said.

Just last week, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC, 臺灣高鐵公司) secured NT$68.3 billion in financing from 25 banks for the rail project.

The bureau is currently studying proposals for recruiting private-sector partners in the four cities.

A preliminary report on private-sector involvement in the Taichung MRT system will be ready by June, he said.

Proposed routes for MRT networks

Taoyuan

From Chungli to CKS International Airport

Hsinchu

Plan not yet finalized. First-stage environmental impact assessment finished

Taichung

Blue Line: From Tunghai University to Taichung Railway Station

Red Line: From Wufeng township to Taichung Railway Station

Green Line: From Peitun to Taichung High-Speed Rail Station

Tainan

From the city center to the Tainan Science-Based Industrial Park via Tainan Railway Station

Source: Bureau of Taiwan High-Speed Rail


All four MRT networks, like the high-speed rail system, will be run on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.

Second-round environmental impact assessments have been completed in Taichung and Tainan, while Taoyuan and Hsinchu are still at the preliminary stages.

Final proposals for the four networks are currently under review at the ministry, he said.

"Interactions with local gov-ernments are going very well right now," although land use issues have been the most difficult to settle, he said.

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