Taiwan budgets US$28.86 billion for infrastructure

Taiwan budgets US$28.86 billion for infrastructure

FORWARD-LOOKING:According to an estimate, the project would contribute at least NT$975.9 billion to GDP, thereby stimulating economic growth, Lin Chuan said

The Cabinet has finalized plans to submit a special eight-year budget request of NT$880 billion (US$28.86 billion) to the legislature for the “Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project,” Premier Lin Chuan said yesterday.

The government hopes to attract NT$1.7 trillion in public and private-sector investment for the project, Lin said.

“Some say the project is too costly. I do not look at it that way. The government should have vision and foresight. It will be worthwhile as long as the goals are achieved,” Lin said.

Government agencies are to submit budget proposals in relation to the project by the end of next month, which are to be collated by the Executive Yuan before a finalized budget request is delivered to the legislature in the middle of May, he said.

Asked by reporters how the budget proposal would benefit the nation’s economy, Lin said that according to an estimate, the project would contribute at least NT$975.9 billion to the nation’s GDP, thereby stimulating economic growth.

Asked whether the government would accrue a large debt over the project, given that its funding would depend entirely on issuing debt, Lin said that the government would be prudent.

The amount of government debt owed over the next eight years would not exceed the ceiling stipulated in the Public Debt Act, which is 15 percent of the nation’s annual expenditure, he said.

The project is to focus on “green” energy, water resources, railways, digital infrastructure and urban and rural development, the National Development Council said on Monday.

A special NT$50 billion budget has been allocated for “green” energy infrastructure, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung  said on Monday.

The government also plans to invest NT$250 billion in water resources infrastructure so that the nation would no longer suffer water shortages and flooding, Hsu said.

Another NT$46.056 billion is to be invested to improve the nation’s digital infrastructure and bridge the rural-urban divide, while NT$137.2 billion would be allocated to urban and rural development, Hsu said.

Approximately 50 percent of funding is to be spent constructing railways, which would be supervised by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The Railway Reconstruction Bureau said the government has already approved funding for the electrification of the railway connecting Pingtung County’s Chaozhou Township  and Taitung, as well as dual tracks between Hualien and Taitung.

Other approved projects include a Taipei MRT line connecting New Taipei City’s Sanxia and Yingge , a light rail system in New Taipei City’s Tamsui , an MRT line in Taoyuan and the first phase of the extension of the Kaohsiung MRT line connecting Lujhu District  and Gangshan District.

The government has also approved funding to relocate the Taiwan Railways Administration’s line in downtown Tainan, which is estimated to cost NT$24.2 billion.

Several new projects have yet to approved by the government.

The proposed elevation of the railway in downtown Chiayi City is estimated to cost NT$23.26 billion. The estimated budget for the proposed railway line connecting the Mountain Line and the Sea Line in Taichung is NT$5.42 billion.

The government is also planning to budget NT$6.1 billion to build a light rail connecting Taipei and Keelung. The total cost is estimated to top NT$8.1 billion.

Other new projects include the Kaohsiung MRT circle line, extending the Taoyuan MRT Green Line to Jhungli, as well as new railway lines in Hengchun and Donggang.

Photo Caption: Premier Lin Chuan unveils the budget plan for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.Mar 24, 2017


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