Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Pan-blue legislator fumes over Hsieh's MRT broadside


Opposition legislators condemned Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday for blaming an accident at one of the city's mass rapid transit (MRT) system construction sites on the legislature.

"Hsieh is being irresponsible. He wants to exceed his responsibilities. The accident with the MRT was simply a construction mishap, and has nothing to do with the budget," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝) said.

Wang was the first chairman of the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation.

"Hsieh said that if the budget does not pass soon, then there would be more accidents at construction sites. If that's really the case, then the authorities should halt construction immediately and Hsieh should resign to take responsibility," Wang said.

Allotments for the Taipei and Kaohsiung MRT projects have been included in the budget for the 10 key infrastructure projects, estimated at NT$500 billion over five years.

The opposition has demanded the Cabinet separate the MRT budget from other projects and handle it according to debt-ceiling regulations because they entail ongoing expenses.

The Executive Yuan and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus, however, insisted that the projects should proceed together as part of one budgetary package.

"This year the budgets for the Taipei and Kaohsiung MRTs have been prepared within the NT$500 billion construction package. The budget still hasn't been passed, and the Kaohsiung City Government is already facing financial problems," DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said, urging opposition caucuses to change their minds and agree to the budget.

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