Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Democratic Progressive Party New Taipei City mayoral candidate Yu Shyi-kun yesterday pledged to work together to improve the lives of residents of the two closely connected cities.
“In my opinion, Taipei and New Taipei City are actually one metropolis; the two cities should therefore work together and conduct their urban planning as one,” Ko told a news conference at Yu’s campaign headquarters in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City.
“For example, [Taipei Mayor] Hau Lung-bin [郝龍斌] said he wanted to clean up the Tamsui River (淡水河), which borders the two cities, but without cooperating with New Taipei City, his plan would not succeed,” the physician-turned-politician said.
Nearly 100 percent of Taipei residents are served by an underground sewage system, but the ratio is less than 60 percent in New Taipei City, he said.
“Hau spent more than NT$35.4 billion [US$1.1 billion] to clean up the river, but it will still smell bad if New Taipei City does not complete its sewage system,” he said.
The two cities should be viewed as one when drawing up plans to improve public facilities, such as the MRT system, road networks, bus routes and urban development projects, he added.
“I will not have a problem working with Yu, so if we both get elected we can solve many problems together,” Ko said.
Yu agreed, saying that millions of residents of the two cities travel across the municipal boundaries on a daily basis, and unilaterally developing Taipei would not be positive for residents of the two special municipalities.
“When I was Yilan County commissioner, I established many facilities and events that are still popular today. I also said ‘no’ to high-polluting industries and promoted tourism in the county,” Yu said. “The Taipei and New Taipei metropolis features mountains, an ocean, a national park, an airport and harbors. I believe we can work together and plan well to create a world-class living environment for the two cities’ 6 million residents.”
In related news, the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said they have agreed that they would decide whether Yu or the TSU’s Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) would represent the pan-green camp in the New Taipei City mayoral election through a poll on Thursday next week.
Lin said he was confident that he could win against New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) if the latter decides to seek re-election.