In a special interview with YAHOO TV on the 27th, Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-Lung shared his views on the management issues of the city and the outcomes, and the prospect of development. He also responded to the issues of concern raised by the online viewers and emphasized that the government will create a positive effect to build up a viable transportation system and improve the quality of ambient air, among other things, for the benefit of Taichung. In addition, Mayor Lin has also presented a blueprint to make Taichung a livable metropolis in accordance with his blueprint, including the offering of social welfare, employment for the youth, rejuvenation of Taichung, and social orders, and has started working on that.
In an exclusive interview conducted by “YAHOO TV! Weather Risk” at the Taichung City Government Building, Mayor Lin suggested that the air quality of Taichung has been improving in the last 5 years. The content of PM2.5 was 22.8μg/m3 last year in average, which was a decrease of almost 40% from the level of 35μg/m3 in 2011. There are several sources of pollution, including the exhaust from motor vehicles, carbon black from kitchens, uncovered construction work sites, or open-air combustion in addition to the emissions from power generators.
First of all, Taichung City Government has instituted the “Self-Regulatory Ordinance for the Restricted Use of Bituminous Coal and Prohibited Use of Petroleum Coke in Public Areas of Taichung” for addressing the problems caused by the boilers of thermal power generators of power plants thereby requiring the Taichung Thermal Power Plant to reduce the use of bituminous coal by 40% in 4 years. In addition, the government also demanded storing bituminous coal indoors. This is a key step of development for the Taichung Thermal Power Plant ever since its founding. Indeed, the plant has already secured a budget of NT$14 billion from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to build 3 covered warehouses for the storage of coal. The government will urge Taiwan Power Corporation to speed up the process in accordance with the ordinance with a view to reduce the emission of pollutants by a substantial volume.
In addition, the Taichung City Government has instituted the “Subsidy for the Encouragement of Using Natural Gas by Enterprises” on September, 2015 to encourage enterprises to switch to natural gas for fuel in lieu of fuel oil or bituminous coal. As of the end of last year, there were 15 enterprises that applied for the subsidy for replacing convention boilers with natural gas boilers. The subsidy for the current year will increase from NT$300,000 to NT$500,000 to provide incentive for the enterprises in switching to natural gas.
On the issue of the pollution caused by 2-stroke motorcycles, Mayor Lin mentioned that Taichung has some 200,000 2-stroke motorcycles on the road for the time being. For the acceleration of phasing out 2-stroke motorcycles and the purchase of powered bicycles, Taichung City Government has capped up NT$71 million and requested a funding of NT$64 million from the central government, which made up a total of NT$130 million, as subsidy for phasing out 2-stroke motorcycles. The target was set at 50,000 vehicles per year.
On the issues of the timetable for the MRT Green Line construction and the demand of the Control Yuan for corrective action on the BRT by the Taichung Government, Mayor Lin replied that the MRT Green Line will undergo pilot running next year and the whole line will be opened to service in 2020. Currently, the trains for the line have arrived Taiwan and the city will move forward to embrace the era of rapid transit. In the past, the “false MRT” without bearing any exclusive right of way and priority signals will be transformed into an exclusive lane to improve bus lines. Related data indicates that the overall traffic flows in the main roads of Taiwan have improved. With the free toll for 10 km policy, the bus network and right of way allocation will be reviewed and reformed to improve the traffic volume of Taichung. This policy has been widely accepted by the people of the city.
Other aspects of building up the transportation system, including the elevated railway, Greater Taichung Shanshou Line Project, and the 500km/4 years projects are in progress, said Mayor Lin. There will be “short-term sudden pain” in the course of action, but the government has prepared for this. The advocacy of a viable transportation system will make the residents of and travelers to Taichung feel the difference.
Mayor Lin also discussed the social order of Taichung with Dr. Peng in the interview. According to the statistics released by the National Police Administration of the Ministry of Interior, the crime rate in Taichung remained stable, that “indicator of crimes per 100,000 people” has been the lowest among other six municipalities for several months consecutively. The prevention of crime campaign in the Spring Festival and the combating of fraud have been soundly performed. Through the help of crime investigation technology and big data, social order has been substantially improved.
According to an article by CNN, Taichung is the most livable place in Taiwan. Taichung has also been put on the list of the “Top 100 Travel Destinations of the World” announced by Euromonitor International, a survey organization, for the first time. Taichung will host the World Floral Expo next year, which is an important international event for the city after upgrading as a municipality, said Mayor Lin. With the advantage of the development of the local floral industry, the city will design 3 exhibition zones to combine “production, ecology, and life” to echo the philosophy of sustainable development. It is expected that 800 million visitors by head count will join the event in Taichung.
The city government will develop a viable transportation system and prevent air pollution proactively and work for the best of the city, emphasized Mayor Lin. In addition, the blueprint for the ideals in social welfare, employment for the youth, rejuvenation of central Taiwan, and social order will go on to perfection.