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Tram promises surge across 14 locations in election lead-up

Tram promises surge across 14 locations in election lead-up

Posted March. 05, 2024 07:53,   

Updated March. 05, 2024 07:53


About a month before the April 10 general elections, tram pledges appear to be pouring in nationwide. According to a Dong-A Ilbo coverage on Monday, candidates in 14 constituencies across the country presented the tram project as a pledge.

Trams are considered an effective means of transportation due to their lower construction costs and shorter construction periods than subways. Additionally, their eco-friendly nature, such as utilizing hydrogen fuel, positions them as a suitable public transportation option to address climate change. Trams are operational in over 380 cities worldwide.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, numerous regions undertaking tram projects are encountering challenges, leading to project suspensions or reeval‎uations of feasibility. As of February this year, 29 national tram projects are included in the government's urban rail network plan. The total project cost amounts to 9.19 trillion won, but only one of these, the Wirye Line, with a project cost of 261.4 billion won, has commenced construction.

For this reason, there are concerns that if the tram project, initially proposed as a generous pledge during the general election campaign, is promoted without discrimination, it might simply mimic the light rail projects of local governments that consistently record deficits each year. On Feb. 14, the Seoul High Court sided with the residents, stating, "Request that the former mayor and others pay 21.4 billion won to Yongin City." It has been 11 years since Yongin residents filed a lawsuit against the Yongin mayor and others who promoted the Yongin light rail project. "Ahead of the general elections, tram promises are being made indiscriminately,” said Hwang Jin-wook, an urban engineering professor at Pusan National University. “We need to assess the feasibility of these pledges."

창원=도영진 기자 0jin2@donga.com