The government’s plans to increase operational speeds and expand the high-speed system along the east coast have not come without criticism
By Shelley Shan / Journalist
The Ministry of Transport and Communications will increase the speed of express trains on the east coast rail system until a high-speed train is available around Taiwan, Transport and Communications Minister Wang said yesterday. Kwo-tsai (王國 材).
Wang made the remarks on the sidelines of a meeting of the Legislature’s Transport Committee, when asked about former Transport Minister Chen Chien-yu (陳建宇) ‘s criticism of his vision for construction. of a “nationwide high-speed rail system,” which Wang argued for.
Wang also told Formosa TV host Hu Wan-ling (胡婉玲) in an interview on Saturday last week that Taiwan will have 20 high-speed train stations once the system is accessible across the country.
“I respect ex-Minister Chen’s thoughts on the matter,” Wang said.
“Countries around the world are aiming to achieve a zero carbon goal by 2050, and public transport is key to achieving this goal. As such, we also need to set a long-term goal for the rail infrastructure, ”Wang said.
“However, our short and medium term goals to increase the operational speed of express train services to the east coast remain unchanged. We are still pursuing our reforms with the Taiwan Railway Administration [TRA],” he added.
Photo: Chen Hsin-yu, Taipei Times
On Sunday, Chen wrote on Facebook that Wang should “wake up” from this unrealizable dream.
“The government is embarking on a series of projects to improve the rail system on the east coast, from purchasing new intercity trains to installing a two-track system. The problems that have plagued TRA for decades can only be resolved if the agency is transformed into a Crown corporation within three years, and all of these projects are foundations upon which TRA should build to become a corporate enterprise. ‘State,’ Chen said. noted.
Wang’s pledge to expand the high-speed rail system across the country would not only lower the morale of TRA employees, but also lead to the downfall of the agency, Chen said.
Chen also said transportation policies should be formulated after considering various factors, not just technology and imagination.
Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties have a combined population of around 1 million, which is expected to decline as Taiwan is an aging society, he said.
“Once the high-speed rail system was available in all three counties, vacationers would spend fewer days on the east coast, although it has many natural sites. This would subsequently reduce business opportunities. Is this what the residents of the east coast want? Chen asked.
Wang should not make irresponsible promises since the high-speed extensions to Yilan and Pingtung counties have yet to be built, Chen said, adding that the ministry has yet to conduct a feasibility study. of a trans-Taiwan high-speed rail system.
No company would establish a branch in or around a high-speed rail station if there is no science park or high-tech industrial hub nearby, Chen said.
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