Fri, Jan 08, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taipei City Council passes budget to tear down a Zhongxiao Bridge connection ramp

RUSHING AHEAD:Taipei city councilors are pushing budget proposals, with 15 items still on an agenda that was expected to be concluded prior to the New Year

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Cars drive past North Gate next to Zhongxiao Bridge in Taipei on Wednesday, the approach of which is scheduled for demolition during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Taipei City councilors yesterday, during a marathon cross-party negotiation with city government officials, passed a NT$290 million (US$8.65 million) budget to tear down a Zhongxiao Bridge (忠孝橋) connection ramp near the Taipei Railway Station, while agreeing that several major budget requests and projects be put to a vote.

Experts said the project to demolish the 750m ramp on Zhongxiao W Road, scheduled to take place over the first eight days of the Lunar New Year holiday, would improve traffic flow near the railway station.

The budget was passed despite criticism that the Taipei Public Works Department missed a budget review for the demolition.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that with the Lunar New Year approaching, preparatory work for the work have been carried out, but demolition work has not begun.

Project contractor Huang Chang General Contractor Co dispatched construction vehicles to the site and fenced off an area of the bridge.

Reinforced steel was also sent to the site.

Meanwhile, officials and city councilors failed to reach a consensus on the city’s second reserve fund, for which Ko had requested a record-high NT$1.5 billion.

The Taipei City Council's Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus said it would seek to trim the fund to NT$950 million, despite Secretary-General Chen Yung-te’s (陳永德) claims that the caucus would be amenable to upping the ante to between NT$1.15 to NT$1.25 billion as long as Ko promised to use the increase for disaster-relief efforts.

The amount of funding would be decided by a vote today, councilors said.

Other proposals, such as plans to half the NT$2,000 monetary gift received annually by city government officials at Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, and the budget for moving the Mitsui Warehouse to make space for other city government projects, are also to be voted on, councilors said.

City councilors were still in second-round negotiations over budget proposals tendered by the Taipei Department of Urban Development, which include 15 items related to the city’s public housing projects and the budget request for the 2050 Taipei Vision project, as of press time last night.

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