Fri, Nov 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take: Congestion charge panned

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

An Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) proposal that would require car and motorbike owners entering Taipei County and Taipei and Kaohsiung cities to pay a "congestion charge" met strong opposition from two candidates running for Kaohsiung mayor. The EPA is considering introducing the charge to help relieve traffic congestion and reduce air pollution in the three administrative areas, based on a system used in London. Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英), a former Kaohsiung deputy mayor nominated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to run for city mayor in the Dec. 9 election, strongly opposed the proposal. "The EPA should consider the matter from the standpoint of local residents and respect their rights," Huang said, adding that the EPA should not carry out the plan without communicating with the public in Kaohsiung first. Chen Chu (陳菊), a former Council of Labor chairwoman also running in the race as the Democratic Progressive Party's candidate, criticized the proposed congestion charge as "unfair" to commuters and less-privileged groups who must enter Kaohsiung daily to make a living.

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