Fri, Jan 24, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Taichung residents up in arms about road poll

POLARIZING POLL:The Greater Taichung Government’s ‘Lousy Roads’ poll has been criticized by residents, who claim resources are being diverted away from rural areas

By Tang Tsai-hsin and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A poll released yesterday showed that North District has Greater Taichung’s “lousiest roads,” but the results are being questioned by some for alleged bias in funding road repairs in the city at the expense of the outlying rural districts.

The “Top Ten Lousy Roads” survey was commisssioned by the Greater Taichung City Government’s Construction Bureau and conducted by the Chaoyang University of Technology.

After a preliminary overview, a team from the university chose 59 roads — 40 from the original city and 19 from the original county before their merger at the end of 2010.

Aside from seven of the top 10 being in North District, one each came from the original city’s Central, West and East districts.

That led a number of residents to question whether the poll was biased.

“There are hundreds of bad roads throughout Greater Taichung. Are there really only 59 lousy ones? Does this survey have any credibility?” one resident asked.

As well as the perceived bias, when a participant in the poll was picked to receive a prize, the individual was found to reside in Greater Tainan.

When interviewed by reporters, the winner was unable to answer which of Greater Taichung’s roads he had voted for and he later admitted that he only knew the road in front of the Taichung Railway Station.

Residents in Greater Taichung’s outlying districts claimed something fishy was going on.

“This seems to be a deliberate attempt to divert financial resources for road repairs away from outlying districts and to central urban districts,” one resident said.

In response to the criticism, Construction Bureau chief Wu Shih-wei (吳世瑋) said the roads chosen were those that were in need of renovation following a review by professionals at the university and then voted on by the public.

“The 10 roads chosen will be repaired using the NT$120 million [US$3.97 million] budget,” Wu said.

“After that, we will look to improve the roads in other districts. The financial resources will be allocated fairly, we will not favor the original city at the expense of outlying areas,” he said.

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