Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday accused the Taipei City Government of bungling the MRT -Wenshan-Neihu Line, saying the design was poor and that it was a mistake to adopt a medium--capacity system and build some sections above ground.
Su, who was opening his campaign headquarters in Neihu District (內湖), said the city government made the wrong decisions and promised to examine the design of the line and improve its quality if elected.
“In light of the rapid development of the Neihu and Nangang (南港) areas” — both of which are serviced by the MRT line — “a high-capacity system should have been adopted,” he said. “We are now paying a big price for the wrong decision — and sometimes such wrong decisions can be worse than corruption.”
Planning for the line took place when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was Taipei mayor. A 14.8km extension to the Muzha Line, the Wenshan-Neihu, or Wenhu, Line has suffered a number glitches and malfunctions since it began operating in July last year because of compatibility problems.
The Control Yuan launched a probe last year into alleged irregularities in the construction of the line and censured the city government in May over its construction of the problem-ridden line. The city government later took disciplinary action against 21 officials and staff as a result.
However, Ma was cleared of any administrative wrongdoing in the design and construction of the project.
Su criticized Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and his team over long delays in the refitting of 51 pairs of trains that previously traveled on the Muzha Line, which used the French-built Matra system.
Taipei City Government spokesperson Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) yesterday said the problems with the line were the result of the then-DPP central government’s refusal to subsidize a heavy capacity system.
Moreover, numerous underground pipes in Neihu District made it impossible to have underground projects, Chao said.
The city had assessed the feasibility of building the line underground, but former minister of transportation and communications Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) turned down the proposal, she said.
“Su should have a talk with Yeh if he wants to address the matter,” she said.
“Su has been criticizing the city government, but has offered no solid campaign platform. He should look ahead and put more effort into presenting real proposals,” Chao said.