It may all have been too ambitious of private enterprise in Taiwan to tackle one of the worlds largest (if not THE largest) B.O.T projects. Heard that the main backers EXPECTED not to be able to turn a profit from operations and EXPECTED the govt to bail them out eventually while they quietly siphon off huge amounts of dosh from land developments. Simple formula, invest big , borrow HUGE and go backrupt on paper while pocketing BIG TO HUGE amounts from land development. Is it all going to plan?
The level of money borrowed basically means that most of the TWO BILLION US DOLLAR deficit from last year alone was likely in the form of INTEREST PAYMENTS. Its clear that the project numbers were unrealistic for private enterprise.
Only a govt can borrow up to 14 billion US dollars and service the debt (with its national bank at deeply discounted interest rates) while waiting 30 plus years for capital return. Look at the Taipei MRT. Sixteen US Billion dollars spent, another 16 Billion US dollars halfway spent. Although widely successful operationally, if it had to shoulder a market rate for the amount of money borrowed, it too would be in debt.
Huge megaprojects like the TAipei MRT and the Taiwan HSR really could only be possible on a government basis. The private involvement in the HSR was all a big ruse to grab profits from LAND development while letting the govt pick up the bag for the HSR itself. Its too big to let fail.
Taiwans govt can let the Muzha Gondola fail (few even remember about that at this moment) while the HSR cannot be allowed to fail. Simple as that.