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Taipei announces opposition against route of Beiyi Railway

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) established firm opposition against one of the proposed routes for the Beiyi Direct Railway (北宜直線鐵路) yesterday, during the Taipei City Municipal Conference.

One of the two routes proposed during the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' (MOTC) Beiyi Direct Railway Route Selection Meeting (北宜直線鐵路路線評選會議) has been engineered to pass through Feitsui Dam (翡翠水庫). Concerned with the overall water quality and water supply of the Greater Taipei area, Hau has officially declared that he, on behalf of Taipei, is against the construction of the railway through the dam, and any other alternative which involves the dam.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) relayed Hau's statement, saying that the city government had opposed the idea last Friday during the meeting.

However, the route has not been excluded from considerations, and will be on the voting floor during the next route selection meeting in April. Chang went on to state that should the route be selected and submitted to the Northern Taiwan Development Commission (北台區域發展推動委員會), executive members from the Department of Transportation (交通局), the Department of Urban Development (都市發展局) and the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration (臺北翡翠水庫管理局) will attend the conference to protest against the proposal on behalf of the Taipei City Government.

The other route in the proposal is said to take 10 minutes more in commute time than the Feitsui route should it be chosen. Where the Feitsui route spans a total of 32.8km with an estimated project cost of NT$ 50.6 billion, the alternate route will span 35.8km at NT$ 48 billion. Both routes have also been confirmed to pass through the Xueshan Range (雪山山脈). A route is said to be determined in April, upon which it will be submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment in February of 2015, with a construction day set for 2016.

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