Furious over continuing delays in the construction of the Neihu Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line, Taipei city councilors from across the political spectrum yesterday demanded that the Taipei City Government ensure that current deadlines for the project are met. Completion of the line is currently scheduled for December 2008 with services due to begin in March 2009.
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
"It's our goal not to postpone the deadline ? But we were surprised by the complexity and difficulty of the work which needed to be carried out after construction began," Ma said yesterday when presenting a municipal report on the construction of MRT lines to the Taipei City Council.
Acknowledging that the Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit System (DORTS) "was too optimistic" in their evaluation of the project's scheduled progress, Ma said the department would shoulder responsibility for any oversights.
City councilors, however, lashed out at Ma and the department for causing long-term traffic nightmares for Neihu residents by repeatedly postponing the construction deadline.
"The deadline has been delayed for a further 278 days. There should be no more delays," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) City Councilor Yang Shih-chiu (
Since work began on the Neihu Line in May 2002, the project has experienced a number of construction difficulties, DORTS Chief Tom Chang (
In addition to facing complaints about construction delays, the line's main contractor was involved in a corruption scandal earlier this month after it was found to have submitted forged check requests and doctored photographs.
The MRT Neihu Line will span 14.8km when completed. It will have two underground stations, 12 surface stations and 10 elevated stations. The route will be supported by one power plant and one maintenance factory. Overall construction costs are estimated at NT$66.7 billion (US2.0billion).
KMT City Councilor Chen Cheng-teh (
But Chang said that with two years left, the department felt confident about meeting the current deadline.