I’ve been wondering if we would hear anything about the Kaohsiung MRT system during this election cycle, and here it is.
The Control Yuan is investigating the finances of the Kaohsiung MRT, and it has found that the KMRT is hemorrhaging money. In the year that it has been open, the KMRT has lost NT 7b, and it is quickly running out of cash.
KMRT is officially a private business, but it is, of course, closely tied to the city government. If the private business goes bankrupt, the city government will be left to bail out the mess. So if the KMRT runs out of cash, fails to pay bondholders, or something else, the taxpayers can’t just ignore it as if it were a bank. 
The Control Yuan doesn’t seem to be accusing anyone of wrongdoing. The basic problem is simply that not enough people are riding the KMRT so revenues are too low. (The KMRT is a beautiful system, with gorgeous architecture, nice, shiny trains, and lots of elbow room. But while having the whole train to yourself can be enjoyable, it makes for a financial disaster.) I’m not sure whether the population density is too low, the lines were built on the wrong routes, people don’t habitually take mass transportation in Kaohsiung, or people simply haven’t adjusted their lives and transportation habits around the KMRT yet. It might be something else, too. However, the Kaohsiung MRT is clearly not part of the everyday lives of Kaohsiung residents the way the Taipei MRT is.
Anyway, one thing I have learned from Taipei politics is that the MRT has political consequences. On the positive side, you get to spread around lots of contracts worth trainloads of money constructing the system. On the negative side, once it is built, only negative political credit is possible. If the system operates perfectly and makes a profit, no one gives you credit. (Example: Does Mayor Hao get any credit because the Taipei MRT is rolling in profits? Of course not! ) However, if anything goes wrong, the blame is swift and sharp. The MRT is a tangible issue that voters can see and understand. We might not understand the intricacies of health care reform, but everyone can understand a derailed train, a crowded and dirty station, a corruption scandal, or a construction delay.
So I expect to hear a lot more about the Kaohsiung MRT over the next two months. I don’t think this will be sufficient to derail Chen Ju’s re-election bid, but it might eat into her margin significantly.
 That was intentional.