The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday that it will continue to negotiate with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus over a proposal to include transportation subsidies for residents of eastern Taiwan in a draft act on the development of that part of the country.
The Chinese-language China Times yesterday reported that the Legislative Yuan is expected to pass the draft act, paving the way for an eastern Taiwan sustainable development fund, but will block the proposed transportation subsidy.
The subsidy idea was originally floated by the DPP’s candidate Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) during a legislative by-election in Hualien County earlier this year.
She proposed that people with household registrations in eastern Hualien and Taitung counties should receive subsidies of up to 50 percent on air, train and highway bus fares.
DPP Legislator Lai Kun-cheng (賴坤成) from Taitung County said yesterday that the DPP caucus would stick to its guns on the subsidy program, but indicated there was room for discussion on the size of the subsidies and how best to deliver them.
Pointing to rail services, Lai said it was unreasonable that passengers in eastern Taiwan are charged the same ticket prices as those in other parts of Taiwan, given the age of the region’s rolling stock and relatively slow train service.
Lin Yi-shih (林益世), head of the KMT Policy Committee, said the KMT caucus had no intention of blocking the plan, but added that that the DPP caucus must come up with concrete measures for the implementation of the policy, such as how to prove passengers are local residents.
Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), executive director of the DPP Policy Committee, said the DPP would insist on its version of the draft act, which includes the subsidy program.
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