Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Cabinet to back big-project fund

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet is scheduled to make a special request of NT$36.5 billion (US$1.08 billion) for the first year of the NT$500 billion infrastructure projects package.

These funds will go toward the construction of the mass rapid transit (MRT) systems in Taipei and Kaohsiung and the third wave of freeways across the island.

The legislature passed a bill authorizing the 10 New Major Construction Projects on the last day of the legislative session, which ended on June 11.

The bill allows the Cabinet to circumvent the nation's public debt ceiling and to make a special budget of up to NT$500 billion for the projects over the next five years.

The Cabinet is prevented, however, from earmarking spending for the 10 projects that is in excess of 50 percent of the annual budget of other major public construction programs being carried out in the same year.

Seeking to amend that article of the statute, the Cabinet is scheduled to approve draft amendments to the special law during today's weekly Cabinet meeting and later to send the amendments to the extraordinary legislative session for further review. The session may begin on Aug. 12.

Also yesterday, the Cabinet approved increasing the compensation for families affected by Tropical Storm Mindulle, which killed 29 people and left 12 others missing.

The families of those who died or are missing since the storm will get a total of NT$500,000 in compensation per storm victim, with NT$300,000 from the Cabinet and the remaining NT$200,000 from their local government.

The families of those suffering serious injuries from the storm will receive a total of NT$200,000 per victim, with NT$100,000 each from the central and the local governments.

Families requiring relocation will receive compensation of up to NT$200,000 per family, plus NT$20,000 per person for up to five persons per family.

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