Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - Page 3 News List

KMT candidate wants bigger MRT

GOING UNDERGROUNDEric Chu wants to see 10 new MRT lines built in Sinbei City over the next decade, with a mixture of heavy, medium and light capacity tracks

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Sinbei City mayoral candidate Eric Chu, center, poses for a picture with other KMT candidates at the Taipei County Government yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Sinbei City candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said he would roll up his sleeves when it comes to transportation, promising the city’s residents that he would quadruple the size of the MRT system if elected.

The multi-billion dollar plan is Chu’s first major policy statement since he announced his candidacy for the hotly contested election in May.

Speaking at a farming association in Taipei County’s Sinjhuang City (新莊) yesterday morning, Chu unveiled the plan, saying it would decrease journey times, encourage local development and increase the use of public transport.

Chu vowed to open at least one line per year and targeted the completion of 10 new MRT lines in Sinbei City over the next decade.

The announcement also included a pledge to construct three new circular lines extending around the city.

His plan would mean that the current 21 MRT stations standing on 25km of track around Sinbei City would be quadrupled to at least 80 stations covering 100km by 2020, involving a mix of heavy, medium and light capacity tracks.

Phase one of Chu’s plans calls for the completion of the 35km MRT circular line by 2017, with part of the line operational by 2014.

That line, currently under construction, will connect Sinbei City’s Sanchong (三重), Lujhou (蘆洲), Wugu (五股), Sinjhuang, Banciao (板橋), Jhonghe (中和) and Sindian (新店) areas with Taipei City’s Zhongshan (中山), Shilin (士林) and Wenshan (文山) districts.

The election pledge would see construction of the Wanta-Shulin line begin, with Chu targeting completion by 2021. The Wanta-Shulin line will connect with the Sinjhuang line, slated to open in 2013, to form the second circular line.

The third circular line will include the construction of the Bannan-Sanying line along with light rail lines in Tamsui (淡水), Ankeng (安坑) and Sijhih (汐止).

“In the future it won’t be a dream to travel from Sijhih to Taoyuan International Airport in 45 minutes,” the former vice premier said.

These remarks were welcome by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT yesterday, who challenged Chu’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), for allegedly failing to offer “solid campaign promises.”

Tsai, who also serves as DPP chairperson, had said earlier she would like to see authority over Sinbei City MRT lines returned, adding that she believed the city should have its own transportation policy separate from Taipei City’s.

“The MRT is not just about moving people from point A to point B, it has the capacity to change the economy, society and lifestyles of Sinbei City residents … we want to consolidate MRT development and city renewal together,” Tsai’s campaign spokesperson Luo Chih-chung (羅致政) said yesterday.

Luo said that these issues would be covered by Tsai’s own transportation policies to be released in the near future.

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