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整備新幹線 着工ありきでなく十分検証を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 9, 2012)
In-depth studies needed on extended Shinkansen routes
整備新幹線 着工ありきでなく十分検証を(2月8日付・読売社説)

We have nagging doubts about whether three new Shinkansen sections will produce effects that justify the huge investment required to build them.
 巨額の投資に見合った効果を上げられるかどうか、疑問が残る。

The government should avoid making a hasty decision based on the idea that starting construction is the basic premise.
「はじめに着工ありき」で拙速な判断をすることは避けねばならない。

A verification panel of scholars and experts of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has started discussions on the planned sections.
 整備新幹線の未着工区間について、国土交通省の有識者会議の議論が始まった。

They are reexamining whether simultaneously starting construction of the three sections, a policy confirmed by the government and the ruling parties late last year, is appropriate.
政府・与党が昨年末、同時着工方針を確認したことを受け、その可否を検証する。

The panel is checking sections planned to run between Shin-Hakodate and Sapporo on the Hokkaido Shinkansen line; Kanazawa and Tsuruga on the Hokuriku Shinkansen; and Isahaya and Nagasaki on the Kyushu Shinkansen.
 対象は、北海道の新函館―札幌、北陸の金沢―敦賀、九州の諫早―長崎の各区間である。

Total project costs will top 3 trillion yen.
 総事業費は3兆円を超える。

The panelists are required to properly check the profitability and economic effects of the extended lines.
採算性や経済効果を十分吟味することが求められよう。

Calls to start constructing the three sections were very strong when the Liberal Democratic Party-led administration was in power.
 3区間は自民党政権時代には着工を求める声が強かったが、

However, the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration froze the projects in 2009 as part of its review of public works projects.
民主党政権が2009年、公共事業見直しの一環として凍結した。

===

New revenue source found

The DPJ-led administration's latest policy turnaround to start construction was possible, it said, because it had found the money to go ahead with the plan.
方針を転換したのは、財源確保にメドがついたためと説明している。

As a new revenue source, the government zeroed in on charges JR companies pay to the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency to use Shinkansen-related facilities.
 新たな財源として着目したのが、JRが鉄道建設・運輸施設整備支援機構に支払っている新幹線の施設使用料だ。

Law revisions that came into effect last year enabled these charges to be used for construction costs.
昨年の法改正で建設費に回せるようになった。

For the time being, about 40 billion yen will be available annually.
当面は年間400億円程度ある。

According to the government and the ruling parties, costs not met by these charges will be shouldered by the central and local governments.
 政府・与党案では、施設使用料からの転用分以外は、国と自治体が負担するとしている。

Furthermore, the construction period--which is usually 10 years--will be extended up to 24 years to reduce the financial burden required for a single fiscal year.
 さらに、単年度の負担を抑えるため、通常10年の工事期間を最長24年に延長する。

The government aims to open the Hokkaido section in fiscal 2035, the Hokuriku section in fiscal 2025 and the Kyushu section in fiscal 2022.
北海道35年度、北陸25年度、九州22年度の開業を目指す計画だ。

However, we think this idea is strange.
 しかし、これはおかしい。

If the construction period is extended, the total project cost will grow by more than 200 billion yen from the initial estimate.
 工期を長期化した結果、総事業費は当初見込みより2000億円以上も膨らむ。

Even if the cost for a single fiscal year is reduced, it is crystal clear that state and local government coffers will feel the pinch even more if huge budgets have to be poured into Shinkansen line construction for nearly 25 years.
単年度当たりの事業費は減るとしても、四半世紀にわたり多額の予算を投入し続ければ、国と地方の財政が一段と逼迫(ひっぱく)するのは自明の理だ。

The local governments concerned probably hope to make the Shinkansen lines a pillar for regional economic development.
 関係自治体は新幹線を地域振興の柱にしたいのだろうが、

However, in addition to forking out for construction costs, these local governments will inevitably face the difficult problem of regular railway lines that run alongside the Shinkansen lines falling into debt.
地元負担に加え、並行在来線の赤字という不可避の難題も待ち受ける。

===

Will passenger numbers increase?

The transport ministry has estimated the three sections will produce average annual profits of between 2 billion yen and 10 billion yen after they open.
 国交省は、3区間とも開業後に年平均20億~100億円の利益が出ると試算している。

However, opening the Nagasaki-Isahaya section will trim the time between Hakata and Nagasaki stations on the Kyushu Shinkansen route by only 28 minutes, compared with the existing regular railway line.
 だが、博多―長崎間の所要時間の短縮は28分にとどまる。

Extension of the Hokkaido route will mean Sapporo is an about five-hour ride from Tokyo.
札幌延伸で東京―札幌間は約5時間で結ばれるが、

Both lines will face fierce competition with airline companies, so it is anyone's guess whether they can attract more passengers.
いずれも航空会社との競争は厳しく、利用客が増えるかどうかは予断できない。

A ministry estimate on the lines' cost efficiency, which indicates the benefits to localities and passengers compared with the funds invested, came in at a smidgen over the break-even point of 1.
 投入する資金に対し、地元や利用者がどれだけ恩恵を受けるかを表す費用対効果の試算も、収支とんとんを示す「1」をわずかに上回る程度に過ぎない。

It is important to establish integrated networks of expressways, airline routes and railway lines.
 高速道路、航空、鉄道の整備を一体的に考えることが重要だ。

It is not too late to reexamine what to do with the Shinkansen sections whose construction has not started after parts now being built, including one between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate stations, have been completed.
未着工区間の扱いは、新青森―新函館間など建設中の区間の完成後に再検討しても遅くはない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 8, 2012)
(2012年2月8日01時05分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-02-11 03:05 | 英字新聞

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