Thu, Nov 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2018 ELECTIONS: Taichung candidates vye for votes during TV debate

By Chen Chien-chih, Su Meng-chuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

From left, Democratic Progressive Party Taichung mayoral candidate Lin Chia-lung, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Lu Shiow-yen and independent candidate Sung Yuan-tung join hands before a televised debate yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Taichung Election Commission

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told a televised campaign debate on Tuesday night that the city had improved under his administration, and described his achievements with regard to air quality, income and infrastructure.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayoral candidate Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) challenged Lin, asking: “Do [Taichung residents] live better now than they did four years ago?”

If she were elected she would work hard to improve the city’s economy, Lu said.

Lin, who had the winning draw to speak first at the debate, said he attracted investment to the city worth NT$900 billion (US$29.1 billion) and that salary growth in the city over the past four years was the highest of the six special municipalities.

His administration also reduced the output of the coal-fired Taichung Power Plant, he said, adding that his order to the plant that it cut its coal consumption by 5 million tonnes annually was a record reduction.

In his closing remarks, Lin asked voters to give him another four years to turn the city from one of progress to one of prosperity.

Lu said the city’s economy and air quality had worsened under Lin, and promised to do a better job.

Lu said that the economy and air quality would be her primary areas of focus if she is elected.

“You will get a new mayor, and you will also get new air,” she said.

The Democratic Progressive Party has overlooked the economy and has driven out Chinese tourists, she said.

Citing 2016 statistics, Lu said salaries in Taichung were the lowest among the six special municipalities, and visitors arriving at the Port of Taichung and Taichung International Airport were on the decline.

Fruit sales from Taichung to China were also low, she said, arguing that this was evidence that the city’s economy was not doing well.

Meanwhile, independent mayoral candidate Sung Yuan-tung (宋原通) said that if Taichung is to become more a globalized city, it must be better connected to China.

Otherwise, Taichung would be like an orchid without roots, he said.

The city’s tourist numbers are only one-10th Taipei’s, but this would change with the completion of underwater high-speed rail lines crossing the Taiwan Strait, he said, referring to a proposal discussed by some Taiwanese engineers and Chinese officials in 2012 that was never green-lighted by the government.

In the meantime, Chinese visitors to Taichung are easily able to reach the city via Taipei, Sung said.

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