Tainan to complete underground railway in 5-6 years

Tainan City's Acting Mayor Lee Meng-yen

Taipei, Oct. 15 (CNA)-Tainan City in southern Taiwan is expected to fully roll out constructions of an underground railway system by 2019 and complete the project in five to six years, Acting Mayor Lee Meng-yen (李孟諺) said Sunday.

Lee said the constructions for the underground railway project is expected to be more comprehensively rolled out by the end of this year or the start of next year and that some of the required lands have already been acquired.

The underground system will stretch 8.23 kilometers across the city’s East, North and Rende districts, he said.

The Ministry of the Interior has been reviewing the plans for the acquisition of land in the Eastern and North districts and has already secured properties in Rende District, Lee said. Completion of constructions is expected to take an estimated five to six years, he said.

During the process, some 300 households will have to be relocated, Lee said, adding that around 80 percent have either agreed to financial settlements or have applied to be relocated to a government housing project.

The city government will open another application period for the housing project, named Caring Housing, and expects many applications from those who have not yet decided, he said.

Regarding the 20 to 30 households that are holding out, Lee said, the city government will continue to negotiate with them, even though the central government has given approval for acquisition of their lands.

According to Tainan’s Bureau of Urban Development (BUD), demolition of houses can start only after settlements and acquisitions have been completed. Meanwhile, the Caring Housing project has 366 units but only 216 applications have been received, the BUD said, adding that 287 households are eligible for relocation to the housing project. As of July, 112 units had been handed over, the BUD said.

According to the Transportation Ministry’s Railway Bureau, Tainan’s underground railway project will cost an estimated NT$29.36 billion (US$949.732 million).