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April 29, 2017

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Premier unveils eight-year infrastructure plan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Lin Chuan unveiled the Cabinet's eight-year "Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project" Thursday, which aims to pump NT$882.49 billion dollars into railway extensions, water works, green technology and other areas.

The plan, which was approved today by the Cabinet, calls for allocations to green energy (NT$24.315 billion), digital infrastructure (NT$46 billion), urban and rural infrastructure (NT$137.8 billion), water works (NT$250.7 billion) and railway extensions (NT$424.3 billion).

The plan also aims to attract private investment totaling NT$1.77 trillion. The premier expressed confidence that infrastructure investment would be able to boost the nation's economy, with "explosive" growth possible after three to four years.

Answering allegations of possible favoritism and the preferential allocation of resources to pan-green localities, Lin said he had not accounted for the ideological divide during the formulation of the plan. "I can only make sure we uphold the nation's economic development, fairness and effectiveness," he said.

However, the government plan quickly drew rebuke from New Taipei City, Taiwan's largest municipality. Its application for funds to further extend its "three loops and three lines" MRT lines were not included in government funding.

"Of course we are not satisfied. This is not forward-looking. This is just a retrospective look (at past policies)," said New Taipei City spokesman Chang Chi-chiang.

Chang said that failure to allocate funds necessary for the metro would affect the entire Northern Taiwan metropolitan area including greater Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung.

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