Tainan mayor rejects idea of referendum on railway project
Central News Agency
2014-05-20 09:49 PM
Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Tainan City Mayor Lai Ching-te of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Tuesday quashed the suggestion of a referendum on an underground railway project in the southern city, saying it would be better to negotiate with the households likely to be affected. He was responding to DPP Tainan City Councilor Wang Ding-yu, who said at a city council meeting that a referendum on the project should be held alongside the national local government elections in November. Wang also said all information related to the project should be transparent so that city residents could fully understand and assess the relocation proposals by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) and the demands of an association of affected citizens. However, Lai said he would prefer the approach of visiting the affected households to negotiate with them and offering to build residential units to house those families. The MOTC underground railway project, one of 10 new large-scale construction projects by the central government, has majority support among Tainan residents, he said. The MOTC had planned to build the railway track above ground in Tainan but later decided to construct a 7.55-kilometer segment underground, east of the originally planned location. Houses on the east side of the current railway tracks in the city will be demolished to make way for the underground segment and when the work is completed, the surface will be leveled to build a park and a commercial district, according to the plan. Since September 2013, however, Tainan residents who are due to be relocated have staged several large-scale protests against the government's land expropriation and relocation plans. They have accused the city government of non-transparency in its relocation plans and have suggested an alternative land-borrowing scheme, which Lai has rejected. (By Chang Jung-hsiang and Evelyn Kao)
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