Taoyuan County’s strategic location, relatively young population, and strong industrial base could see it emerge as a major regional transportation hub and national growth driver in the coming years, Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) said on Saturday.
Wu made the remarks at a forum on city competitiveness, where he said that the county, which will be upgraded to a special municipality by the end of the year, has the potential to play a significant role in boosting regional development.
The county has a population of 2.05 million with an average age of 37, the second-youngest of the nation’s cities and counties after Hsinchu, Wu said.
Those assets and the county’s industrial strength clearly qualify it for the status upgrade that will put it on par administratively with the nation’s five other special municipalities: Taipei, New Taipei City, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, Wu said.
Taoyuan is home to 29 industrial parks and more than 10,000 factories with combined revenue of more than NT$3 trillion (US$100 billion) a year, the highest among all administrative districts for 10 consecutive years, Wu said.
At the same time, the county is also planning to position itself as a transportation, logistics and commercial hub in the Asia-Pacific region by linking the country with the rest of the region through its ambitious Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, he added.
The commissioner said the project — aimed at establishing an industrial, commercial, residential and a free economic pilot zone around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as expanding it — is one of 12 major infrastructure projects launched by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, and could inject NT$2.3 trillion into the local economy and create 300,000 jobs.
Once the green line of the Taoyuan MRT, the construction of which will begin next year, comes into service in 2021, it could significantly help cut down the time needed to travel from downtown Taoyuan to the airport and other urban centers, he said.
By then, “all of Taoyuan will be the hinterland of development for the aerotropolis,” said Wu, who is seeking re-election in the November nine-in-one polls that would make him the first mayor of Taoyuan as a special municipality.