In Yongin, the trains are headed nowhere

Home > National > Social Affairs

print dictionary print

In Yongin, the trains are headed nowhere


Yongin EverLine trains are parked at a maintenance depot in Yongin, Gyeonggi on Feb. 16. Though construction work on the line is finished and the transit system was scheduled to open in July last year, the Yongin city government delayed operation of the transit system because it believes the project is flawed and must be fixed before train service can begin. By Kim Sang-seon

Yongin Rapid Transit Co. has filed a lawsuit in an international court against the Yongin city government over the delay of a rapid transit system that would connect the city with the Bundang line in the west.

Yongin Rapid Transit confirmed on Monday that it filed the litigation to collect damages from the city because it says it had to terminate its contract with the city to stop “insurmountable losses” after the city refused to approve the completion of the project.

The lawsuit was filed in the International Court of Arbitration under the International Chamber of Commerce, a Paris-based dispute-resolution tribunal, because one of the chief investors in the project is Canada’s Bombadier Advanced Rapid Transit.

Construction work is finished on the fully automated 18.5 kilometer (11.5 mile) rapid transit system. The Yongin EverLine was scheduled to open last July, with Yongin Rapid Transit operating the system. The city, however, believes the project is flawed and must be fixed before service can begin.

The project started in 2005, but its opening has been delayed by more than seven months because the new mayor, Kim Hak-kyu, who ran on the Democratic Party ticket, opposed the project.

With the contract cancellation, the city became the owner of EverLine and is obligated to reimburse the private investors who financed the project.

Of the 1 trillion won ($889 million) used in the construction of the EverLine project, private investment from companies like Bombadier is estimated to be between 600 billion and 700 billion won. Legal experts say it could take more than a year to resolve the issue.

In an interview with JoongAng Ilbo on Monday, Kim said the project is being delayed due to construction problems, not politics.

Showing a 500-page report that examined the safety of the EverLine, Kim said he had to delay start of rail service because its contractor didn’t make changes the city requested in December. Kim said the city demanded the contractor improve safety and noise conditions, but none of the changes were made.

“I explode with anger whenever I flip through pages of the report,” Kim said.

Due to flaws in the construction, Kim said, “the rail service doesn’t guarantee passengers’ safety, and on top of that, the project remains a persistent headache for the Yongin city government.”

Kim did say, though, that the rail service will be opened at “an appropriate time,” after the defects are fixed. Kim added that he couldn’t leave the completed public transportation project idle.

“At this point, the rail service is not safe,” Kim said. “The report found that 40 sections were poorly constructed. We also received complaints from Dongbaek and Sanggal residents that they are concerned with rail-service noise problems.”

Kim also said the city faces another dilemma. Data from the Gyeonggi Research Institute showed that the rail service would attract 32,000 passengers daily, but a city task force determined that the service would attract only about 10,000 passengers a day.

If the lower total turns out to be true, the loss of revenue would hit the city hard.

“More taxpayers’ money would be needed to make ends meet, and that’s why we have been delaying opening of the service,” Kim said.

Kim Hak-pil, CEO of Yongin Rapid Transit, blames the city for the conflict. And financial losses mounted, he said, because the company was expecting to gain revenue from operating the system.

“With the Yongin city government’s refusal to approve the project’s completion, we can’t afford the operating fees of between 2 billion and 3 billion won per month [before the contract was terminated] and we face 120 million won interest per day,” Kim said.

Kim said his company isn’t responsible for the lower ridership estimates.

“The number of expected passengers for EverLine dropped because of the Bundang line’s extension construction work connecting Ori and Suwon,” Kim said.

Kim also denied that there has been any poor construction. Kim said the city is just making an excuse to delay the project.

“We have completed the construction as written on the contract,” Kim said. “We also reported to the city government in November that we agreed with Dongbaek residents to complete noise prevention work after service is opened.”

Kim said his company is in dire straits and had to move to a smaller office again after it moved to another building because it couldn’t afford the electricity bill.

Kim said all 165 workers who were originally hired for the project had their positions terminated as of Feb. 11.

By Yu Kil-yong, Chung Young-jin []

Related Korean Article[연합]

‘개통 지연’ 용인경전철 국제중재 신청

[전철 개통 요구 법원 가처분신청 취하]

경기도 용인경전철(에버라인)의 개통을 둘러싼 지방자치단체와 민간 시행사간 갈등 문제가 결국 국제 중재 기관으로 넘어가게 됐다.

용인경전철 시행사인 용인경전철㈜는 21일 "지난 18일 용인시를 상대로 용인경전철 실시협약 해지에 따른 지급금 및 손해배상 등의 지급을 구하는 중재를 국제상공회의소(ICC) 산하 국제중재법원에 신청했다"고 밝혔다.

김학필 용인경전철㈜ 대표는 이날 "용인시가 경전철 운영개시를 허용하지 않으면서도 실시협약 해지에 따른 시설물 인수 등의 의무도 이행하지 않아 회사가 매우 어려운 상황"이라며 "실시협약에 따른 7천600억원 상당의 협약 해지 시 지급금과 기타 손해배상 등의 지급을 요구하기 위한 국제중재를 신청했다"고 말했다.

이 회사측은 국내가 아닌 국제중재법원에 중재를 신청한 이유에 대해 "2004년 7월 실시협약 당시 각종 문제가 발생할 경우 국제중재를 신청할 수 있다는 내용이 있었기 때문"이라고 밝혔다.

당시 협약에 국제중재를 명문화한 것은 용인경전철을 위한 민간자본 투자액 7천여억원 가운데 400억~500억원 가량 캐나다 봄바디어사 자금이 포함돼 있기 때문이다.

용인경전철㈜은 이와 함께 이날 수원지방법원에 제기한 준공확인 및 운영개시를 요구하는 가처분신청을 취하했다.

회사측은 국제중재까지 신청한 상황에서 더이상 경전철 운영개시를 위한 법적 절차를 지속할 필요성이 없기 때문이라고 가처분신청 취하 이유를 설명했다.

이에 따라 그동안 지속된 용인경전철 개통 문제는 통상 3개월, 길게는 1년 이상 소요되는 국제중재법원의 중재 절차에 따라 운명이 결정되게 됐다.

이에 앞서 용인경전철㈜은 용인시의 준공확인 거부로 하루 1억2천만원의 이자 및 월 20억~30억원의 운영비를 감당할 수 없다며 지난달 11일 시에 실시협약 해지를 통보한 상태다.

회사측의 실시협약 해지 통보에 대해 시는 "공사가 마무리되지 않았다"며 지금까지 수용하지 않고 있다.

국제상공회의소는 국제간 상업거래의 정상화와 민간기업의 이익을 국제적으로 대변하기 위한 기구로, 산하에 국제분쟁의 조정과 중재를 위한 '국제중재법원'을 두고 있다.

용인경전철㈜은 국제중재법원의 중재 판정은 국내법과 같은 효력을 갖고 있어 주문 관청이나 시행사는 그대로 따라야 한다.

기흥구 구갈동에서 포곡읍 전대리 에버랜드까지 15개역 18.1㎞ 구간을 무인 운행하는 시스템으로 민자 등 7천200여억원을 투자해 건설된 용인경전철은 지난해 6월말 완공한 뒤 당초 지난해 7월 개통 예정이었다.

2004년과 2009년(변경) 실시협약 당시 개통연도 하루 승객 수요를 각각 15만3천명과 14만6천명으로 예측했다.

하지만 실제 승객 수요가 30% 수준인 3만~5만명에 머물 것으로 보여 적자운행에 따른 연간 300억~450억원(최소운임수입보장률 79.9% 적용)의 운임손실을 시 예산으로 보전해야 할 형편이다.

시는 이같은 재정 손실사태를 인정하는 가운데 현재 공식적으로는 "시민의 안전한 탑승과 소음 대책 등의 문제가 해결되지 않으면 준공을 해주지 않겠다"는 입장을 고수하면서 경전철 개통이 계속 지연되고 있다.

시 관계자는 "아직 개통을 위한 모든 공사가 마무리되지 않았다는 시의 판단에는 변함이 없다"며 "용인경전철㈜가 국제 중재를 신청한 만큼 적극 대응해 나갈 것"이라고 말했다.

More in Social Affairs

New virus cases stay below 500, but officials say surge isn't over

[Shifting the paradigm] Academia faces brave new world

Gov't tries to keep CSAT from being superspreader event

Chun Doo Hwan found guilty of defaming priest over Gwangju massacre account

Prosecutors implore Choo to reconsider suspension

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now