Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Hsieh praises progress of Kaohsiung's MRT system

TEST RIDE The former Kaohsiung mayor said the fact the first line is almost done proves he was right to push the project and that he picked the right people for the job

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Joining Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) on a test ride of Kaohsiung's Rapid Transit System yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said the progress of the system showed he had made the right decision when he was mayor to adopt a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model to construct the system.

Hsieh told a press conference that the BOT model had led to efficient construction of the transit system, which was important because delays would cost the city government a lot of money.

The Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) has set a goal to start operation of the MRT's red line by the end of this year.

Hsieh said the near completion of the system also showed that he made the right decision to appoint Chou Li-liang (周禮良) director of the Kaohsiung Bureau of Rapid Transit Systems in 2002.

Chou was accused of corruption and breach of trust for not following government procurement procedures in conducting six public bids for the MRT project in 2002, but the Kaohsiung District Court found him not guilty on July 31.

Hsieh has been under investigation for allegedly receiving inappropriate political donations from a KRTC board member and others in 2002 through former Kaohsiung Development Association president Hsu Cheng-chao (徐政朝).

"As a leader, you have to shoulder responsibility and should not be afraid of pressure," Hsieh said. "You need to have your own ideas."

"A leader only has the obligation to make people happy. He or she does not have the right to complain for himself or herself," he said.

Chen showed her gratitude to Hsieh, saying that Kaohsiung's MRT would have been a "castle in the air" if Hsieh had not decided to start the construction.

KRTC president Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵) said the company's goal to begin operation of the red line -- the north-south route -- by the end of this year remains unchanged. He said 94.1 percent of the red line had been completed.

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