Tue, Jun 27, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Construction starts on CKS rail line

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday presided over a ground-breaking ceremony in Taoyuan County for the construction of a rapid transit system linking CKS International Airport to Taipei City.

The section between CKS airport in Taoyuan County and Sanchong (三重), Taipei, is due to be completed by the end of 2010.

The premier took the opportunity yesterday to urge the legislature to pass the special budget for the Ten New Major Construction Programs during the remaining days in the special legislative session. The CKS Airport MRT line is one of the Ten New Major Construction Projects, which were outlined and announced by the Executive Yuan in 2003.

"Legislators should end the political squabbling and start caring about the welfare of the people," Su said.

He warned that any delay in securing the budget for the CKS International Airport Access Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system would make it increasingly difficult to finish the construction on schedule.

According to the Bureau of High Speed Rail, the construction of the CKS Airport MRT line will cost approximately NT$93.6 billion (US$2.93 billion). It will be funded by the special budget as well as the yearly construction budget appropriated to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The special budget for the nation's infrastructure projects was designed to funnel NT$11.7 billion into the construction of the airport line, but that budget has been frozen by the legislature.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) yesterday said that the project had gotten off to a rough start. Bidding on the project, which was initially to be constructed on a build-operate-transfer model, was cancelled in 2002 owing to the contractor's financial difficulties. The government later took the project into its own hands and reopened the bidding process, she said.

The transportation ministry is now in charge of construction on the section of the line from the airport to Sanchong, while Taipei City is responsible for the construction from Sanchong to Taipei Main Station.

Kuo asked the Taipei City Government to address technical issues as soon as possible so that construction on its part of the line could also begin.

Tom Chang (常歧德), chief of the Taipei Department of Rapid Transit Systems, said the department was still waiting for an environmental impact report from the Environmental Protection Administration.

Twenty-two stations will be located along the 51.5km-long route, including seven underground stations and 15 elevated stations.

Once the line is completed, the travel time from Taipei to CKS Airport will be reduced to 35 minutes.

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