Attended by political luminaries, a connection ceremony for the last 16m of the above-ground section of Kaohsiung's mass rapid transit (MRT) was held yesterday, marking a further step toward the completion of the MRT system in the city.
Addressing the ceremony, President Chen Shui-bian (
Accompanied by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Acting Kaohsiung Mayor Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), Chen praised former Kaohsiung mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) for his resolve in pushing through the construction project.
He also complimented the determination of Hsieh's two successors, former acting Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chi-mai (
The project was marred by last August's riot by Thai workers hired to build the system. The controversy claimed the jobs of many, including Chen Chi-mai, former Council of Labor Affairs chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊), former deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) and former Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) vice chairman Chen Min-hsien (陳敏賢).
Despite the controversy, Yeh said she believed "the pain will go away but the beauty will stay" and that she hoped the system would make residents' everyday lives more convenient when the east-west orange line and north-south red line are completed next year.
Later on, Su visited Kaohsiung County's Ahlien Township (阿蓮) where he promised residents of the township's Yuku Village (玉庫) three pumping stations.
"To solve flooding problems, we hope that the three pumping stations can be completed before May next year," Su said.
The cost of the pumping stations is estimated to be at least NT$260 million (US$7.99 million).
The existing water drainage system is inadequate as the area is prone to subsidence and flooding is common whenever it rains heavily.
Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) told Su that the county government provided Yuku Village with five mobile pumps whenever it was deemed that rain was heavy enough to warrant it but that this wasn't enough.