Fri, Jan 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Lawmaker claims vibration project is a waste of money

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers said yesterday that a project conducted in a science park in Tainan to study means of reducing vibration caused by the north-south high speed railway was a waste of money.

TSU Legislator Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) called on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to order a probe into the matter in order to demonstrate the administration's resolve to reform.

Liao said a test report conducted and made available by the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp (THSRC), builder of the high-speed rail system, indicated that the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park's anti-vibration project is "absolutely unnecessary."

Liao said that while the science park's project aimed to lower the vibration caused by the train to 65 decibels (db), the train had registered levels of only 60db while reaching speeds of 300kph on a test run in November last year.

"The project is unnecessary and nothing but a waste of taxpayers' money," Liao said, vowing to slash the budget earmarked for the project this year, the three-year project's last.

Liao said that he strongly suspects that the project's bidding process was manipulated by high-ranking politicians who benefited from the deal by channeling income to a specific contractor.

Liao alleged that the National Science Council had awarded the bid to an unsuitable and unqualified contractor.

TSU Legislator Huang Chung-yung (黃宗源) said that while four of the bid process' screening committee members were designated by the council, of the five so-called "experts" who made up the rest of the panel, only one was an expert in the field of vibration. One of the "experts" even accepted funding from the contractor to conduct "research on special projects," he said.

Huang said that although the contract is worth NT$8.6 billion (US$266 million), the National Science Council would be required to pay the contractor only NT$438 million if the project is deemed a failure.

The THSRC announced last year that it will delay the launch of the high-speed rail to Oct. 31 this year.

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