Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 4 News List

KMT lambasts mayor over BRT system

‘FARCE AND SCAM’:The party said doing away with Taichung’s BRT scheme cost taxpayers NT$2.2 billion, and other city officials like Ko Wen-je caused similar losses

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

An undated photograph shows a bus entering a Bus Rapid Transit system station in Taichung.

Photo: Chang Ching-ya, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday accused Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) of using the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as a pawn in a political vendetta at the expense of taxpayers, and accused other pan-green city or county heads of costing taxpayers dearly.

At a news conference at KMT headquarters in Taipei yesterday, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) said that Lin’s criticism of the BRT system and referring it to the Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office for investigation was as a ploy against his predecessor, Jason Hu (胡志強).

Wang said that Lin abolished the BRT system and replaced it with “optimized, dedicated bus lanes” last year, while Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) is thinking of renting BRT double-carriage buses from Taichung.

“Prosecutors found there were no wrongdoings in February. This whole fuss over the BRT system is simply a farce and a scam,” Wang said.

KMT Taichung City Council caucus whip Yang Cheng-chung (楊正中) said Lin’s cancelation of the BRT system wasted at least NT$2.2 billion (US$67.7 million) spent on construction and preparations, and has led to an annual loss of NT$368 million in revenue that would have been generated from transit fares and rental fees.

Yang said a wrongheaded policy is far worse than corruption, calling the abolition of the BRT system a political decision rather than a practical one.

Former Taichung city councilor Hung Jia-Hong (洪嘉鴻) said city councilors demanded an apology from Lin after prosecutors cleared the BRT project of any wrongdoing in February, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayor chose to ignore the request.

“As a result, the caucus filed charges against [several board directors of] the Taichung Rapid Transit Corp last week for breach of trust and benefiting certain private companies, as they have failed in their obligation to generate revenues for the corporation and instead gave away profitable bus routes to private firms,” Hung said.

Wang also named other DPP and independent city or county heads who she said have put a major dent in their governments’ coffers, including DPP’s Yunlin County Commissioner Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) and independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

Wang said the Yunlin County Government has to pay NT$3 billion in compensation after Lee deemed a build-operate-transfer (BOT) incinerator project in the county’s Linnei Township (林內) a “corrupt project” and unilaterally terminated the contract.

“As for the Taipei City Government, it might be asked to pay NT$37 billion in compensation for the stalled Taipei Dome complex BOT project; NT$1.5 billion for the Nangang Depot Joint Development Project, which Ko intends to axe; and NT$700 million for the suspended Beitou Cable Car construction project,” Wang said.

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