Fri, Sep 23, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Ex-mayors asked for explanations

KAOHSIUNG MRT The councilors want to hear from Wu Den-yih and Premier Frank Hsieh about how the BOT model was chosen. They are also unhappy with the artwork

BY MO YAN-CHIH  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Kaohsiung City Council held a provisional meeting yesterday on the city's MRT system and agreed to invite two former mayors to report to the council on the decision process surrounding the system.

During the yesterday's session, city councilors raised questions about the Kaohsiung City Government's decision to adopt the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model in constructing the MRT system.

The model has come under fire after Thai laborers working on the system rioted in protest against poor management and working and living conditions provided by the privately run Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp.

"We should invite the two former mayors to give a detailed explanation on the decision-making process of the BOT model. The council will not interrogate them. We just want to restore the truth," People First Party Councilor Lin Shou-shan (林壽山) said during the meeting.

Council Speaker Tsai Chien-hsin (蔡見興), after asking for councilors' opinions, agreed to invite Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Wu's successor, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), to talk to the council about the MRT project.

Another issue raised by councilors yesterday was the amount of money budgeted for public art to be displayed in the Kaohsiung MRT system.

Several councilors, including Wu Yi-cheng (吳益政), Wang Lin-chiao (王齡嬌) and Yeh Chin-ling (葉津鈴), asked why the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp had budgeted so much for artwork for the system. The NT$185 million budget had not been reviewed by the city government.

The councilors complained that the company had failed to hold a public bidding process. They said it had privately invited four foreign designers and one Taiwanese potterer to take responsibility for artwork in five MRT stations.

"The whole process is secretive and unacceptable. We ask that the city government not fund the public art project," they said.

The head of the city's MRT Department, Lee Cheng-bin (李正彬), said that the company had not sent the public art design project to the city government for review.

The department will not pay for any of the artwork, he said.

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