Public to be consulted over maglev train route
Bill Savadove in Shanghai
Shanghai's government will seek public opinion on the route for an extension of its maglev train line, the city's mayor said yesterday as he warned residents to express themselves through legal means following massive protests last month.
'At the moment, we are in a stage of collecting opinions on the proposed maglev airport link,' Han Zheng told a rare news conference following the close of the annual session of the Shanghai People's Congress.
Shanghai's maglev line runs from the international airport to a metro station in the city's Pudong district. The city wants to extend the line to the World Expo site, South Railway Station and the Hongqiao Airport, which is mainly used for domestic flights.
Thousands of residents railed against the project during a week-long protest last month after the government posted a revised route on a website in late December.
Offering a veiled warning to protesters yesterday, Mr Han said: 'The government hopes people will express their opinions through legal channels.'
Residents living near the proposed route fear noise, vibrations and even possible radiation from the train. People to be evicted for the project and homeowners in the vicinity want compensation.
'It is possible to receive both supporting and dissenting opinions. The government attaches great importance to each and every piece of advice offered by citizens,' Mr Han said.
The city has repeated several times that it would solicit public opinion, but officials have not publicly given a deadline for the end of that period.
Protesters hope to at least alter the route, diverting the line away from their homes, although that would, in turn, affect other communities.
'After the stage of collection, a panel of experts will organise and conduct a further study, which will be followed by another round of public consultations,' Mr Han said.
Shanghai is racing against a deadline to finish the line, which it wants in place by the time the city hosts the World Expo in 2010.