MOTC to investigate airport MRT delays
By Joy Lee, The China Post
May 10, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) will launch a head-to-toe investigation into the problem-plagued Taoyuan airport MRT project, Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday.
Yeh said that the MOTC will turn in all documents and other evidence to prosecutors and investigators after the ministry completes its review.
“The MOTC will not tolerate or cover up any illegal behavior by the MRT project's contractor,” said Yeh.
Bureau of High Speed Rail (BHSR) Director-General Chu Shu (朱旭) tendered his resignation on Wednesday over delays to the opening of the MRT line to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Originally scheduled for October this year, the line's opening was pushed back further on Wednesday to the end of 2015.
Lawmakers across party lines yesterday reprimanded Yeh for the fourth adjustment of the airport MRT opening date, and demanded he consider resigning from his position to take responsibility for the delay.
“As the head of the MOTC,” Yeh said, “I am definitely responsible for the MRT opening delays.” He also expressed appreciation for Chu's hard work.
According to Yeh, Chu orally informed him of his plan to resign about two weeks ago. On Wednesday night Chu officially tendered his resignation, which Yeh accepted.
“As long as the contractor can have all the construction done by the end of 2014,” Yeh said, “the MOTC is confident all the inspections and tests can be completed within a year, so I am very positive the airport MRT line can begin operation by the end of 2015.”
Yeh also said that the MOTC is reviewing the bidding and supervising procedures of public construction projects to ensure better outcomes in the future.
The Taoyuan airport MRT, construction on which started in 2006, is a rapid transit system that will link Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. After work on the initial stage is completed, further links will be made to connect with a Taoyuan City MRT stop and with the Taoyuan High Speed Rail station.
Premier Demands Ministers Supervise Public Construction
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday requested all ministers form a group to supervise all major public construction projects they are in charge of to avoid any delays.
Jiang said that the opening delay of the airport MRT line, one of the country's biggest public construction projects, will lie in the way of the nation's economic development and damage people's trust in the government.
All ministers should pay more attention to major public construction projects that the ministry is currently responsible for, Jiang said, adding that such efforts will help speed up the progress of construction and stimulate economic growth.