Ko throws down the gauntlet to premier over infrastructure plan

The China Post

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je on Friday challenged Premier Lin Chuan and Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan to a public debate over the soundness of the government’s latest infrastructure plan.

Ko was replying to a reporter who said the premier was unhappy that Ko saw the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Plan as merely a “money-spending exercise.”

The premier had said Ko’s view of the infrastructure plan lacked objectivity, the reporter said.

Ko responded that while he was not familiar with the whole plan, he saw many problems with its rail transport construction projects.

Without the proper coordination, the NT$600 billion budget proposed for these projects would go to waste through redundant investments, Ko said.

Ko challenged Lin and Ho Chen to a debate on issues related to rail transport construction. “We can all get together to debate,” he said.

Ko said that while public transportation did not have to be profitable, it did have to be in the public interest.

The government should clearly identify the subsidies required or the losses expected in any public transportation project before beginning to build it, he said.