Tsai pro­poses ad­di­tional track for North-link Line

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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

Ad­min­is­tra­tion

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.

CNA

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.

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