BUSAN has accelerated plans to build a new underground line that will be used by hydrogen trains to connect key districts with Gadeok New Airport, which has en estimated cost of Won 2.59 trillion ($US 1.98bn), to support the city’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo.

Busan mayor, Mr Park Heong-joon, revealed the plan to build the BuTX railway during a media briefing held at the Busan city government office on March 23.

The 47.9km, 180km/h line will run between Gadeok New Airport and Osiria Tourism Complex at a depth of 40m with six stations, including at Busan North Port and the Haeundae area. The line will provide a journey time of 15 minutes to North Port and 26 minutes to Osiria Tourism Complex.

However, The Korean Herald reports the plan could face criticism as the project only partially passed a feasibility study conducted between January 2021 and December 2022. Only around 113,000 people are expected to use the line on a daily basis, and the project only scored a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 0.88.

However, Park said the project was feasible, arguing that it was difficult to find a construction project outside of Seoul that scored a BCR more than one.

The Busan city government will now conduct research to minimise expenses for the upcoming construction project, while clearing administrative procedures to open the line before the 2030 World Expo.

The line will also open alongside the opening of the new Gadeok New Airport, which the government has also announced will open in 2029, six years ahead of schedule.

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