Reviews of aerotropolis project rushed: residents

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Nov 20, 2013 - Page 4

People living near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday accused the government of rushing the review process for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, which they said was ill-conceived and had not incorporated any suggestions from civic groups.

The project covers an area of 6,859 hectares, of which 3,073 hectares are to be expropriated from private land owners.

The Taoyuan Aerotropolis Self-Help Association yesterday again questioned the necessity and public benefit of the forced expropriation plan, and called on lawmakers to freeze the project’s budget in today’s legislative session.

At a joint press conference in Taipei, Taipei National University of the Arts assistant professor Lu Wen-chung (呂文忠) showed a photograph taken by a surveillance camera of his late father, Lu A-yun (呂阿雲) — an 83-year-old farmer who killed himself by drinking pesticide on Nov. 9 — and said his father committed suicide because he could not bear the thought of being forced to leave his land and property.

Taiwan Rural Front spokesperson Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧) said that after the elderly farmer gave up his life to protest against the project, the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency proceeded by holding 11 ad hoc specialist review meetings in 15 days — with very few committee members attending the meetings — as an apparent attempt to swiftly approve the project.

Questioning the necessity of expropriating their land when the aerotropolis’ new runway will not be designed and submitted for an environmental impact assessment until 2022, Taoyuan Educational Trade Union representative Peng Ju-yu (彭如玉) said that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in 1999 expropriated 176 hectares of private land in Taoyuan’s Dayuan Township (大園) for the Taoyuan Air Services Zone program, but the planned park area is still deserted.

“A wrong investment may be worse than corruption,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said at the press conference, urging her colleagues at the legislature to freeze funding for the project until the government can clarify questions about its public benefits and necessity.