First phase of Kaohsiung light rail project set for 2015

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Dec 06, 2012 - Page 4

Greater Kaohsiung is scheduled to complete the first phase of a light rail system in 2015 after the central government raised its subsidies for the project, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said.

The project, budgeted at NT$16.54 billion (US$567 million), originally received a subsidy of NT$4.41 billion from the central government, but the Council for Economic Planning and Development recently agreed to raise the subsidy to NT$6.36 billion, with the city government raising the rest of the funds, Chen said.

The light rail system is expected to boost land value along its circular route by NT$4.23 billion and increase tax revenues by NT$1.26 billion, said Chen Tsun-yung (陳存永), director of Kaohsiung’s Mass Rapid Transit Bureau.

The first stage of construction will be the 8.7km Qianzhen to Xiziwan section, while the remaining 13.5km is scheduled for completion in 2019, the bureau said.

The city has two metro lines with only one interchange station and the system has suffered average monthly operating losses of NT$200 million due to low ridership since its launch in 2009.

The light rail system is aimed at boosting ridership by expanding the overall network. Various major public facilities, including the under-construction Kaohsiung Exhibition and Convention Center, a popular music center and a port terminal, will be connected by the light rail, Chen Chu said.