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New Taipei City seeks Minsheng-Xizhi MRT

AIPEI -- The New Taipei City government pledged Monday to continue plans to construct a Minsheng-Xizhi line of the Taipei mass rapid transit (MRT) system by providing further evidence of the plan's viability, after the project was rejected by the central government.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) refused to approve the project Feb. 16, as the city government had failed to provide estimates of the external benefits of the MRT line, such as urban renewal, land development and increased taxes that would come along with the construction plan.

The local government will re-examine the project carefully and try to raise its self-liquidating ratio by 2 to 3 percentage points from around 30 percent to meet the MOTC's requirements, said Simon Chao, acting commissioner of the city's Transportation Bureau.

“It's impossible that we will give up on the Minsheng-Xizhi Line,” Chu said, explaining that the project is a crucial part of New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu's political platform.

It will be the first line to be built under newly sworn-in Chu and is expected to begin at Dadaocheng Station beneath Minsheng West Road in Taipei City and extend beneath the Keelung River to the Neihu District.

The total length of the line will be 17.52 kilometers, with 15 stations and one depot, built at a cost of NT$42.2 billion (US$1.44 billion).

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