Taipei and New Taipei City yesterday said that they are willing to bear a larger share of the costs to construct a light-rail system connecting Taipei and Keelung, although neither committed to a specific amount.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) met with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) to discuss the possibility of upgrading a previously proposed system connecting Taipei and Keelung to a rapid transit line.
The four reached five preliminary agreements, which were announced at a news conference.
First, the light-rail system would be upgraded to be a light rail rapid transit (LRRT) system, which would have automatic train operation, they told the news conference.
Second, the system’s terminal in Taipei would be at the the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Hall MRT Station on the Bannan Line (Blue Line), and connect to the Nangang Railway Station via an underground section, they said.
This would facilitate passenger transfer to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), Taiwan High Speed Rail and Taipei MRT systems, they said.
Third, as the Taipei-Keelung line would be on the same route as the proposed Minsheng-Sijhih MRT line from Jhangshuwan Neighborhood (樟樹灣) to Sijhih Science Park, the two systems would share tracks on that section to streamline construction, they said.
Fourth, the LRRT line would connect Nangang and the TRA’s Badu Station, but the section from Badu to Keelung would be designed after an evaluation by the Railway Bureau and further discussions among city officials, they said.
Fifth, a proposed extension of the high-speed rail system from Taipei to Yilan would help divert traffic from the TRA system and Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5), while expanding rail capacity in the area, they said, adding that it would also facilitate transport between the east and west coasts and address problems caused by a bottleneck in the TRA’s system between New Taipei City’s Shulin District (樹林) and Keelung’s Cidu District (七堵).
The high-speed extension should bypass Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水壩) watersheds, they said.
Asked how costs of the LRRT line should be divided among the parties, none gave a definite response.
Ko and Hou said that they are willing to bear some extra costs.
“The Nangang Exhibition Hall is key to the city’s east gateway program,” Ko said.
“It was us who suggested building an underground section connecting the Nangang Exhibition Hall Station to the LRRT line and the TRA’s Nangang Railway Station to avoid traffic congestion,” he said. “I am not the kind of person who would ask the central government to pay for everything, but we are willing to divide the extra costs to build an underground section with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, with us paying a bit more.”
The proposal would need to be approved by the Taipei City Council, he added.
The Taipei-Keelung line would address traffic congestion that has plagued Sijhih District (汐止) residents for years, Hou said, adding that he hoped construction would start as soon as possible.
“The LRRT line and the
Minsheng-Sijhih MRT line would converge at a station at Sijhih Science Park, which would allow people to reach the Bannan and Wenhu [Brown] MRT lines faster,” Hou said. “As such, we are willing to bear a little more of the cost.”
Lin Chia-lung said that construction costs would rise with the upgrade to an LRRT line, but the benefits would exceed the costs.
The municipality that has most of the shared section would bear a greater responsibility, and the ministry is happy that New Taipei City is willing to shoulder more costs, he said.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn