Thu, Jan 05, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Legislators report water leaks in transit system

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators yesterday claimed that there were water leaks in a section of the Kaohsiung rapid transit system's tunnel walls and asked what tragedy had to occur before the Ministry of Transportation and Communications would take notice.

Pointing to pictures of yellow streaks on tunnel walls of the CO3 section of the orange line taken last month, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shih-hsiung (羅世雄) yesterday said: "The rapid transit system isn't powered by coal or oil -- it is powered by electricity. Passengers who step on the line may be electrocuted if there are water leaks."

Lo questioned why it was that no one had bothered to look into reports of leaks first made in 2004, saying: "The ministry is too passive. Why is it that something bad has to happen before they will intervene?"

He also insinuated that proper checks weren't being conducted for fear that further faults would be found, thereby preventing the rapid transit system from being completed before the presidential elections in 2008 and jeopardizing Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) chances.

Lo asked the ministry to intervene and conduct inspections along all sections of the rapid transit system, adding: "People's lives are priceless."

Technical director of the ministry Liao Ching-lung (廖慶隆) said that the Kaohsiung City Government was responsible for safety checks and that it had already established a special team to pay particular attention to monitoring the progress of such checks, making it unnecessary for the ministry to do the same.

He did say, however, that the ministry has established a monitoring team to which the specialist team in Kaohsiung reports on a regular basis.

He added that the ministry team would be more than happy to investigate any problems discovered by legislators or members of the public.

Asked why the ministry wouldn't conduct more thorough inspections, Liao said that with 37 stations in the rapid transit system, widespread inspections would be too time consuming and too costly.

"Even in the case of the Mass Rapid Transit system in Taipei, complete checks were only made on the Muzha line. And that only happened after a carriage caught on fire," Liao said.

Liao did, however, emphasize that the special monitoring team in Kaohsiung was conducting intensive inspections of the red line, sections of which are due to open in October.

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