Tsai proposes additional track for North-link Line
Democratic Progressive Party ( DPP) Chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen yesterday proposed an additional railroad track for the island’s eastern corridor to increase agricultural productivity in the region.
The proposed added track to the existing North-link Line (
), which connects southern Yilan’s Suao area to Hualien, would be dedicated purely to the supply and shipment of goods, freeing up the existing double track railway line for passenger services. The plan is part of the candidate’s “four plus one” campaign promise to improve transportation services to the region, including the widening of Provincial Highway 9 ( 9 ) and introducing a ferry service to cut down on travel times from the northern areas of Taiwan.
Tsai made another campaign trip to Taiwan’s eastern counties Hualien and Taitung over the weekend, spending time with vegetable and fruit farmers. She stated yesterday on her official Facebook page that the island’s eastern region has favorable natural factors and the government needed to help the region establish a systematic resource management policy to support the area’s farmers. This system, according to Tsai, would provide improved agricultural security while guaranteeing the quality of products and institutional hardware.
The DPP leader indicated also that water resource management would be a priority if she were to be elected president next year, and that she would work to reorganize irrigation and water usage systems. Tsai said that adding another track would allow more people to enjoy the fruits of farmers in the region, while freeing up more room for passengers to visit to region, which would fuel tourism.
“The government should take responsibility and take action to solve problems, and not let those working in agriculture bear the possible losses,” Tsai said. She said if the DPP comes to power next year, she would work to localize agricultural value-adding operations by encouraging the region’s youth to return to the land and play a role in management and marketing.
Not a New Idea: Railway
In response to Tsai’s proposal, Lu Chieh-shen ( ), deputy director-general of the Taiwan Railway Administration ( TRA) said that plans to add a third track are already on the drawing board, with research and possibility assessments having been carried out for two years.
Lu added that the foundations and corridor of the North-link Line’s predecessor are still in place and could be revamped to handle freight traffic, as it was once dedicated for before 1979.
The current 86.6- kilometerlong North-link Line was completed as part of the Ten Major Construction Projects in 1979, with later expansions giving it a double track in 2005.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, center, attends a rally in Greater Kaohsiung as part of a weekend campaign trip.