President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday attended an event in Taipei to promote a planned extension of the city’s mass rapid transit system (MRT) to include Taipei City’s Wanhua (萬華) and Jhonghe (中和), Taipei County.
The event was organized by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Taipei Guest House. Ma and Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said they held the event to wish residents of the city’s Zhongzheng (中正) and Wanhua districts a happy new year and to celebrate the “dream come true” of the planned Wanda (萬大) line.
The city plans to build the 22km line underground and have four stations in Zhongzheng and Wanhua districts. They are the Roosevelt Road and Nanhai Road, Nanhai Road and Heping W Road, Wanda Road and Xizang Road and Wanda Elementary School stations.
The Roosevelt-Nanhai stop will connect the Wanda line with the MRT’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Station so passengers will be able to transfer to the Danshui, Xindian or Xinyi lines.
Ma greeted about 400 residents from the two districts’ 17 boroughs in Mandarin, Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) and Hakka.
Ma, who lived in the Wanhua District for 11 years, said he had deep feelings for the area. Lin said the MRT Wanda line was the realization of another of Ma’s campaign promises. Ma said he had more election promises that have been put into practice.
Ma said that during his term as Taipei mayor, he had accomplished 93 percent of his campaign goals. As president, Ma said about 22 percent of his campaign promises had been accomplished and that he expected to finish most of them by the time his term ends in 2012, but he added that some projects may need more time.
Lin said residents of the two districts saw a step toward the realization of their dream when the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) gave the NT$89 billion (US$2.78 billion) construction project the go-ahead last month.
“It is a dream come true and another of President Ma’s campaign platforms put into practice,” he said.
Describing Ma as someone “who has affection and faith,” Lin said the president made a tremendous effort to push the project during his stint as Taipei mayor, adding that it was unfortunate he did not obtain much support from the then-Democratic Progressive Party administration.
Lin thanked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for earmarking NT$600 million before the CEPD approved the project. He also extended his appreciation to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, which he said allowed the ministry to do so. Lin said that although the project proved that the administration was efficient, but did not promote itself. He urged government agencies to “advertise its achievements and good deeds.”
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) thanked the central government for its support of city policies since Ma took office, saying it made his job easier. With the concerted effort of the central and local governments, Hau said he believed more dreams would come eventually true.