Four alignments are being considered by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Su says an extension from Zuoying station in Kaohsiung to Lioukuaicuo in Pingtung City via Niaosong and Dashu appears to be the most viable option at an estimated cost of $NT 55.4bn ($US 1.78bn).

The ministry is also considering a $NT 56.1bn link from Yanchao in Kaohsiung with Lioukuaicuo, as well as a $NT 121.7bn extension from Kaohsiung Railway Station to Lioukuaicuo. At $NT 150bn, the route from Zuoying to Chaojhou in Pingtung County is by far the most costly option, but would serve Kaohsiung International Airport.

The project would be jointly managed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation.

Su’s announcement comes three months before Taiwan is due to hold presidential and general elections.

For detailed data on high-speed rail projects around the globe, subscribe to IRJ Pro.