Lawmaker says ideas missing for Ten Projects

By Hsieh Ming-Ling Special to the China Post

A lawmaker yesterday criticized the government’s New Ten Major Projects, saying many of them are not new, and most of the budget for 2004 went to Taipei and Kaohsiung without taking care of the needs of the rest of Taiwan.

The projects under the five-year NT$500 billion modernization plan were approved by the Legislature in June, but the government has only allocated NT$36.5 billion for this year. Kuomintang Legislator Lu Shiow-yen said the sums are far less than the average NT$100 billion a year.

She said the 2004 budget was mostly for construction already underway in Taipei and Kaohsiung, in contrast to the five-year plan’s original intent to cover the entire country. “The Executive Yuan has promised NT$5 billion to help the construction of a Guggenheim Museum in Taichung. But it is not in the 2004 budget,” Lu said. She said the National Freeway No.5 included both Nantou and Taichung, while the budget covers Nantou only. Hsieh Min-wen, an official at the Urban and Housing Development Department of the Cabinet’s Council for Economic Planning and Development, explained that the budget allocation abides by the law. “It’s easier for previous projects to continue being listed on the budget because they have had all the documents ready,” Hsieh said.

All the projects eligible for funding must have completed evaluations and studies, Hsieh said, adding the Guggenheim plan has not submitted a complete plan. For National Freeway No.5, Hsieh said that the project was originally designed for Nantou only, so it makes sense that Taichung, which is part of the project of National Freeway No.4, is not included.