Legislature completes preliminary review of infrastructure draft bill

The legislature has completed a preliminary review of a draft bill concerning a massive infrastructure project despite scuffles between ruling and opposition party lawmakers.

The government is planning to spend up to NT$890 billion (US$29.6 billion) on the project over eight years. It will focus on infrastructure in five areas: green energy, water management, the rail network, digital development, and urban and rural development.

However, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) says the project is tantamount to pork-barrel spending, with Taiwan slated to elect mayors and county chiefs at the end of next year, and hold a presidential election in 2020. A number of civic groups have also questioned the economic benefits and the environmental impact of the project.

The ruling and opposition camps have one month to negotiate the 11 articles of the draft bill. But given that the current legislative session ends on May 31, it is expected that lawmakers will either extend the session or hold an extra session to accommodate the negotiations. The articles that are in dispute include the length of time and the maximum budget needed for the project, as well as other controversial items.

Source: Radio Taiwan International