Mon, Oct 20, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Chen announces NT$500 billion building program


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday announced plans to invest NT$500 billion in ten new public construction projects over the next five years.

Doling out promises to voters during a visit to Taoyuan, Chen announced some of the projects included in the development plan.

He reported plans for a mass rapid transit (MRT) system to connect the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport to Taipei City and Taoyuan's MRT system, adding that the Central Government would be covering NT$82.9 billion of the construction costs, which totals approximately NT$93.5 billion. Chen projected that construction would be completed by January, 2009.

He again promised to modernize the Taoyuan and Chungli area railway systems by building overpasses that would set the government back NT$28.4 billion.

As for how the projects would be financed, Chen said, "When compared with other developed nations, there is still room for deficit spending in Taiwan."

He recently called for the nation's debt ceiling to be raised from 15 percent of the GDP to 25 percent.

"I hope legislators of all parties will support the NT$500 billion development plan so that necessary public construction projects can soon be implemented, making Taiwan even more competitive," Chen said.

Chen also visited the construction site of Taoyuan County's Chingpu high-speed railway station, stating that "once the high-speed railway begins to operate in 2005, all of the western corridor will be but a day's travel away."

The high-speed railway, a 345km north-south railway system, would effectively cut travel time from Taipei to Kaohsiung to just 90 minutes, with stops in 14 cities along the way.

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