Local leaders in Yilan have lodged a petition to change the site of a planned high-speed rail terminal station. In their petition, they objected to the site proposed by central government. This proposed site is Sicheng railway station, which is in the tourist town of Jiaoxi Township. Although building the HSR station at Sicheng would be cheaper, local representatives want to build the stop within Yilan City itself. They contend that a stop in the city area would be more useful to travelers, and would have a lighter environmental impact.

The leader of Yilan County Council appeared at the Legislative Yuan on Thursday. He delivered a petition on the Yilan high-speed rail project, to the hands of Legislative Speaker You Si-kun, an Yilan native himself.

Chang Chien-jung

Yilan County Council speaker

Yilan City is an extremely suitable place. Yilan railway station has a long history.

Last year, the government approved a plan to extend the high speed rail system to Yilan. But views remain divided on where to build the terminal station.

The ministry initially considered four locations: the Sicheng, Yilan, Yilan County Government and Luodong TRA stations. Although its panel of experts recommended Yilan City, the ministry said in August that it would prioritize Sicheng Station. The announcement triggered a backlash in the county.

Chiang Tsung-yuan

Yilan City mayor

It’s rare for all of Yilan County to unite over something. Now, the county council and the representatives of all the townships, towns and cities – more than two thirds of them have signed the petition.

You Si-kun

Legislative speaker

I offered my opinion, which is that, so many people from across party lines in Yilan County, and all sorts of civil groups oppose building the station in Sicheng. The petition truly reflects public opinion.

With opposition flaring up against the Sicheng terminal, transport minister Wang Kwo-tsai said the proposal had not yet been finalized.

Wang Kwo-tsai

Transport minister

From beginning to end, there have been different considerations at different points in time. So further discussion may be needed on the project, which has not yet been finalized. We want to discuss the matter with experts and build the station where the people of Yilan want it to be. So it can’t be said that there have been huge changes to the plans, because no plan has been finalized.

You Si-kun

Legislative speaker

I hope the Executive Yuan will give it careful consideration.

The transport ministry said it would consult public opinion to make a move in the best interests of Yilan.