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May 26, 2017

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Taipei mayoral candidates announce policies

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Less than 100 days away from the seven-in-one elections, both pan-green and blue candidates have been feeding the public their political plans lest they land the coveted position, with the Kuomintang's (KMT) Sean Lien (連勝文) focusing on a new public housing policy and pan-green Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) touting new YouBike routes.

Following his concern for the gas pipelines in Taipei's older residential buildings and his determination to construct new traditional markets in several districts, Lien yesterday proposed a public housing policy for 20,000 households that would be rented instead of sold. The plots of land he targeted to launch his new project on include the current location of city's First Funeral Parlor, causing many to question Lien's choice of land due to local superstitions. The funeral parlor will be moved to a landfill site nearby.

The public housing policy isn't only about adding up the numbers, said Lien. "One has to propose a complete and sensible goal that he stays responsible to; the said goal has to be achievable ... with the land sources that are highly accessible in Taipei in mind, I have proposed to construct public housing for 20,000 households with supporting measures that take care of the citizens' residential rights," said Lien.

Public housing plans have been conducted by the government mainly, and Lien has divided the plan into two stages to accomplish; the first one being to finish the 10,000 households planned by incumbent MJayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and the second was to reach his own anticipated number of 20,000, all of which are to be rented, not sold.

The number 20,000 had come from calculations of Taipei's currently available plots of land, including government-owned land and private land acquired by issuing awards for the original owners, said Lien.

Contrary to opponent Ko's plan to borrow NT$100 billion in order to build public housing, Lien said he hoped to propose a feasible way to carry out the plan.

Ko's Transportation Reform Plans

Taipei's public transportation system has to be altered according to each type of transportation; the metro, buses, taxis and YouBikes, Ko said yesterday.

"A complete plan is needed, and the biggest issue for the YouBike system is the lack of designated bike lanes throughout the city," said Ko, who added that he will be proposing actual policies regarding the said issue as his next step.

Ko has previously proposed to make changes in the city's bus routes, including one of the most popular routes, bus 307, but bus drivers had complained that route alternations may affect the 100,000 passengers that takes 307s every day.

"It would be strange to discuss the alternations of one single route, we will be planning for the entire system," said Ko.

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