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Officials Meet to Discuss Future Railway Plans Connecting Greater Taipei, Keelung

Minister Lin, Mayor Ko, Mayor Lin of Keelung, and Mayor Hou of New TaipeiMayor Ko Wen-je discussed the plans for a future railway connecting Nangang to Keelung with his counterparts from the respective municipalities and the Minister of Transportation and Communications during a conference on October 13.
 
During the session, Ko pointed out that there have been numerous proposals for a mass transit line connecting Taipei’s Nangang District to Keelung. He cited Taipei-Keelung Highspeed Rail, Taipei-Keelung Direct Rail, Taiwan Railway, Keelung Light Rail Transit (LRT), Xizhi-Minsheng Line, MRT Bannan Line Eastern Extension, and Xinyi Line Eastern Extension as examples.
 
While all the plans appear plausible, they will not work as a whole because there’s no way to realize every project. That is why he suggested that the central government should take the lead in devising a comprehensive plan. He expressed his gratitude to Minister Lin Chia-lung and Vice Minister Wang Kwo-tsai for holding the meeting and hear what respective municipalities have to say.
 
As for his own opinion, Mayor Ko suggested that the Keelung LRT should be upgraded into a medium capacity system. His previous suggestion, which has been adopted by the central government, is to include an underground section connecting the line to Nangang Railway Station to avoid interrupting surface traffic. While this adds to the construction cost, Taipei City is willing to foot more of the bill – if the city council gives the green light.
 
During the post-meeting press conference, Ko reiterated the challenge of railway expansion across the island. He noted that he has long called for the establishment of respective Taiwan Railway Administration, Highspeed Rail Administration, and Mass Rapid Transit Administration under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. The creation of so many municipal-level mass transit departments across the island is a recipe for future problems. Ultimately, he believes there should be a mechanism for resolving such conflicts.