Fri, May 23, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taipei councilors pan Hau over Ma's i-Taiwan projects

NOT SATISFIEDThe infrastructure proposals focus on transportation and other facilities mostly outside of Taipei, the DPP city officials complained

By Mo Yan-Chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilors yesterday blasted Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) for failing to convince President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to focus more on Taipei in his i-Taiwan 12 infrastructure projects.

The councilors said they were worried that Taipei City’s competitiveness would suffer at the expense of Taoyuan County and Taichung City and accused the Taipei City Government of being passive on the matter.

The i-Taiwan projects, one of Ma’s major economic platforms, proposes putting NT$2.65 trillion (US$81 billion) in government investment over the next eight years into boosting the economy by expanding domestic demand.

Ma promised to invest in cities including Kaohsiung, Taichung and Taoyuan and turn them into major transportation hubs.

Construction projects involving Taipei City make up 5 percent of the proposal, DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) said.

“As the mayor of the nation’s capital city and one of the KMT’s big names, you failed to seize this opportunity and work for the best interests of Taipei residents,” Wu said at a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council.

The projects include building and linking rapid transit networks in cities and counties across the country, turning Kaohsiung into a tariff-free port and eco-park, turning Taichung into an Asia-Pacific maritime and air logistics center and turning Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport into an “airport city.”

The proposal earmarks NT$130 billion for projects in Taipei City, while Taichung City will receive NT$200 billion and Taoyuan County NT$220 billion, Wu said.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Chou Wei-yu (周威佑) condemned Hau for putting less effort into raising the city’s competitiveness than other KMT local government heads have, including Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫).

“You are supposed to be one of the KMT’s four big names along with Hu, Chu and KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義), but you did not take the chance to seek more for Taipei residents,” Chou said.

Hau dismissed the criticism, saying that some of the projects in Ma’s platform required cross-city cooperation. About NT$70 billion of the i-Taiwan budget would be given to Taipei City for the construction of MRT lines, he said.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余宴) urged Hau to spend more time focusing on the city’s development and look for solutions to problematic projects such as the unpopular Longshan Temple Underground Shopping Mall.

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