Taipei, July 17 (CNA) Plans for the green line of the Taoyuan MRT have passed an environmental impact assessment, the Taoyuan County Government said Thursday, meaning construction on the line that will link Taoyuan City to the airport could begin as soon as next year.
Taoyuan County will submit the assessment results along with a general planning report to the Executive Yuan for approval and expects the project to be passed in late September.
The county's Transportation Bureau estimated construction on the line, which runs through the cities of Bade, Taoyuan and Luzhu, could start in June 2015 for completion by 2019.
The green line has been officially named the "Aerotropolis Line" because it will pass through the county's ambitious airport city project and connect to Taipei through the Airport MRT (purple) line.
The planned north-south route will pass through four proposed urban projects in Danan (Bade), Taoyuan City, Nankan (Luzhu) and Guolin (Dayuan Township).
According to the plans, the green line will run 27.8 kilometers and stop at 21 stations (10 underground and 11 elevated.)
The daily passenger volume on the line is expected to reach 500,000.
The corridor that makes up Bade, Taoyuan City, and Luzhu is home to nearly 747,000 people.
County officials said the green line will help ease traffic volume on main roads in the densely population area by 10-25 percent and improve the transport environment.
Once it comes into service, it could help significantly cut down the time needed to travel from downtown Taoyuan to Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan's major gateway to the world.
While the airport is only about 20 km from downtown, the two direct routes in the densely populated area are prone to congestion.
Nonetheless, some residents have expressed concern that while the line will improve connectivity and convenience, it could cause nearby housing prices to soar in an area that is already home to some of Taiwan's fastest-growing prices.
They have expressed hope that the central and county governments can come up with effective housing policies to mitigate the impact.
With a population of over 2 million, Taoyuan County is expected to attract more people after it is transformed into a special municipality in December.
The county is home to many factories and industrial parks and has in recent years begun to develop into an exurb for Taipei workers seeking more affordable housing.