The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) recently rejected plans submitted by Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taoyuan and Kaohsiung counties to build light rail or mass rapid transit (MRT) systems because their governments had not presented viable funding plans.
The ministry said the viability research reports submitted by the four counties emphasized that the construction costs would be low and that the MRT systems would be efficiently utilized once built.
The financial losses accrued by the Kaohsiung City MRT system were a prime example of the gap between estimated passenger volume and reality, the ministry said.
While the MRT systems may be able to help the development of urban areas, the conundrum facing Kaohsiung’s MRT might occur if a county does not have a large enough population to support a public transportation system, the ministry said.
Hsinchu and Miaoli counties want to build a light rail system connecting Hsinchu City, Chubei (竹北) and Jhudong (竹東) in Hsinchu County with Jhunan (竹南) in Miaoli County.
Taoyuan County has proposed constructing a five-line MRT system, with one line connecting to the Airport Rail. Kaohsiung County wants to build a light rail system to connect seven university campuses.
The ministry also turned down plans by Keelung and Tainan County to build light rails and Taichung City’s request to add a Blue Line to its two-line MRT system now under construction.
The ministry also asked the Taipei County Government to reevaluate building a light rail system for Danhai New Township (淡海新市鎮).
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