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Ministry backs Chunghwa to form pro baseball team – Taiwan News

SAFETY ISSUES:
Legislators questioned the transportation minister about reducing incidents along the TRA’s railways after a train was hit by construction debris on Wednesday

  • By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) strongly supports Chunghwa Telecom’s plan to establish a professional baseball team, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday.

The ministry, which owns 35 percent of Chunghwa Telecom’s shares, is the company’s largest shareholder.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) yesterday asked Wang if the telecom briefed him about its plan to form the CPBL’s sixth professional baseball team.

Photo: Yeh Yung-chien, Taipei Times

“I am aware of the telecom’s plan. It was reported that the team’s home field would be in Kaohsiung. The telecom has government shares and generates profits, and I will definitely support its proposal to fund professional sports,” Wang told the committee in Taipei.

Ministry officials said that Chunghwa Telecom is committed to supporting the development of professional sports.

The telecom, which is considering plans to form a team in Kaohsiung, is still evaluating the move, the officials said.

Also at the meeting, legislators questioned the ministry about a series of Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) incidents.

On Wednesday morning, a westbound Taroko Express train was hit by a steel pile that fell from a construction site as the train traveled from Yilan County’s Dali Station to New Taipei City’s Fulong Station. Although no deaths or injuries were reported, Wang fired the director and a section chief of the TRA’s construction department.

The incident follows the April 2 derailment of an eastbound Taroko Express train at the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien County. Forty-nine people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the train was hit by a crane truck that rolled onto the tracks from a construction site.

Hung asked if Wang could promise that no such incident would recur after the firing of the construction department director.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that incidents continued at the railway agency even though workers on the construction site follow standardized operating procedures.

These incidents seriously damaged the agency’s image, he added.

Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Andy Chiu (邱臣遠) said Wang should stop talking about building an “around-the-nation high-speed rail system” if he has trouble managing the TRA.

Wang said that he was ashamed about the multiple problems emerging from the railway agency, adding that he would work to reduce them.

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