The New Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems yesterday urged the Executive Yuan to approve a proposed MRT line connecting Sijhih District (汐止) and Taipei’s Donghu (東湖) area to get the project moving.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) earlier in the day visited Sijhih to hear a report on plans for the line.
While there, he thanked former minister of transportation and communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) for facilitating the plan and incumbent minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) for taking over the project.
“Thanks to the understanding and cooperation of the mayors of Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung, we have made some progress today,” he said.
The department said in a news release yesterday that the transport ministry preliminarily approved the plan for the Sijhih-Donghu Line in March and the city government submitted a revised plan in May to the Executive Yuan for review.
The New Taipei City Government has allocated a budget of NT$20.5 billion (US$684.47 million), including NT$2.9 billion which should be paid back by the Taipei City Government, while the central government is to provide NT$5.8 billion for the project, it said.
The line can improve transportation problems in Keelung, and share stations and the Shekou terminal with the Keelung MRT Line, it said, adding that the government hoped the Cabinet could approve the plan as soon as possible.
Lin, who is the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate for New Taipei City mayor, on Facebook yesterday thanked the premier for announcing in February that the government would prioritize the construction of the Sijhih-Donghu Line.
Sijhih is an important intersection connecting Keelung and Taipei, he said, adding that local residents and commuters all suffer from the postponement of the line’s construction.
While the originally proposed MRT Minsheng-Sijhih Line was postponed for years, as the Taipei City Government prioritized the Metro circular line, the Sijhih-Donghu Line made no progress., he said.
While serving as transport minister, he found that the overlap between the Keelung MRT Line and the Minsheng-Sijhih Line made it difficult for all parties involved to reach a consensus, he said.
He thus established a communication platform in 2020, inviting Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) to meet and discuss the project, he added.
The efforts resulted in the integration of the east side of the Minsheng-Sijhih Line — which has been named the Sijhih-Donghu Line — and the Keelung MRT Line, he said, adding that this would benefit nearly 1 million residents in Keelung, Sijhih and Taipei’s Neihu (內湖) and Nangang (南港) district.
The planned Sijhih-Donghu Line can connect the Wenhu Line (文湖線) and Bannan Line (板南線) to further facilitate transportation in the Taipei metropolitan area, as well as stimulate the development of Keelung and Sijhih, he added.
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