Fri, Jul 04, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Taipei gets NT$40 billion for new MRT lines

SEVERAL ISSUES The Taipei City Government made a list of the projects that could be subsidized, but did not secure funding for the many other plans it submitted

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun, right, is greeted and shown around by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, left, during a visit to City Hall yesterday.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday granted the Taipei City Government NT$40 billion for the construction of the Hsinyi and Sungshan MRT lines. Yesterday was the first time that Yu paid an official visit to the city government.

The meeting between Yu's and Taipei Mayor Ma's teams were "practical, agreeable and with concrete opinions," according to Taipei City Bureau of Information Director Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇).

Although Yu and Ma had a slight disagreement before the meeting started, with Yu saying the Taipei City Government was in the best financial condition of all 25 cities and counties in the country and Ma shaking his head in disagreement.

Yu then stressed that the relationship between the central and local governments was that of partners.

The disagreement did not ruin a satisfactory outcome in the city government's favor.

"The MRT issue was the first one on the table," Wu said.

"The Premier immediately agreed to our appeal, without hesitation," he said.

Ma said that the NT$40 billion granted by Yu was close to what the city government needed.

Ma had prepared nine major issues to present to Yu and was hoping to obtain assistance and a subsidy from the central government.

"The nine issues included SARS prevention and post-SARS rehabilitation, the reconstruction of traditional markets and weathered school classrooms, the construction of water ducts and new MRT lines, health and labor insurance subsidies and the city government's financial losses caused by the 50 percent incremental land-value tax cut by the central government," Ma said.

Yu was accompanied by heads of several ministries and councils concerned with the issues, including Cabinet Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村), Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三), Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊), and Council of Agriculture Chairman Lee Chin-lung (李金龍).

Besides receiving money for MRT construction, the city also received a financial grant for its SARS-prevention and relief work.

"The central government has made a list of items that they would subsidize and after we compiled our list of expenditures according to that inventory, we found that there was an amount of NT$4.049 billion that qualified for a financial grant," Wu said.

"Premier Yu has agreed that as long as we apply for the subsidy via normal administrative procedures, we would get the amount we ask for within a week," he said.

The city government, however, did not succeed in securing funds for the other issues they raised.

Wu said that Yu said a water ducts project might be considered at a later date for the "NT$300-billion-in-three-years" public infrastructure expansion project, but Yu had asked the ministries to look further into other cases, without making any promises of further subsidies.

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