Cabinet to cease with new plans for THSR, mulls gov’t takeover

By Amy Chyan ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (�]�߸s) said yesterday that the Executive Yuan will no longer be proposing other financial restructuring plans for the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR, �x�W���K) and instead will head in the direction of a government takeover for the troubled company.

Sun said that if the original THSR investors are willing to increase their self-owned capital ratio, then THSR’s financial woes will be solved and that THSR would be able to avoid bankruptcy.

According to Sun, the original contract stated that THSR’s investors would need to fund 25 percent of the company. However, current investor funds stand at only 2 percent, said Sun.

Any time the original investors have proposed a financial restructuring plan, they have dodged their responsibility to increase the self-owned capital ratio, said Sun. The financial restructuring plan recommended by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, ���q��) was to first decrease capital then add capital by allowing the public to purchase shares of the company, said Sun. Sun said that the plan had no intention of benefiting large corporations. Since legislators did not think the plan was a good idea, the Executive Yuan will now head in the direction of a government takeover of THSR, said Sun.

In a step toward the takeover, the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee (���q�e���|) passed the first reading for revisions proposed for the Statute for Encouragement of Private Participation in Transportation Infrastructure Projects (���y�����ѻP���q�س]����) on Monday.

The Executive Yuan said that they hope the revision can pass all three readings within the timeframe of the extended sessions so that the government can legally proceed with taking over THSR.

THSR Missed Opportunity Four Times: Chen Former Premier Sean Chen (���R) said THSR missed their opportunity for financial restructuring four separate times and that he is very sympathetic to former Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (���J��).

Chen said that THSR’s financial plan was troublesome from the very beginning and that THSR’s messy pocketbook is the responsibility of both the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT).

Chen said THSR’s problems are too complicated and questions should be directed to former THSR Chairman Tony Fan (�S�ӱj), who understands the intricate operations and finances of the railway.

It is hard to believe there is a better solution if even Fan thinks a government takeover is the last step, said Chen.