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Taiwan Green Party calls for open debate on canceled Su-Hua Freeway

Taiwan Green Party calls for open debate on canceled Su-Hua Freeway

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Green Party called on the government Wednesday to live up to its promises of open debate after reports that it would not go ahead with the contested Su-Hua Freeway.
The road, which is supposed to provide a safer and faster link between the Ilan County town of Suao and Hualien on the east coast, has been opposed by environmentalists for more than a decade. Many Hualien residents claim it is absolutely necessary to stimulate the economic development of the sparsely populated area.
The Directorate General of Highways reportedly presented a report with the possible options to the Ministry of Transportation and Communication on Tuesday. It suggested to repair the existing road in places and to add either short or long tunnels.
The new plan is expected to cost NT$40 billion instead of the NT$90 billion for the freeway.
Officials said there were a total of five different plans on the table, including the freeway. It would depend on the state and scale of future repairs whether the freeway would still be needed or not.
The Green Party said the new proposal was not clear enough, since it was not obvious whether it was 80 percent similar to the Su-Hua Freeway or only 20 percent the same. Safety needed to be a higher value than speed when considering the impact of the road link, the environmentalists said.
The party called on the government to hold public hearings on its latest plans, as required by law. Only full transparency would be able to dissolve the so-called confrontation between Hualien residents and outsiders, the environmentalist party said.
The Greens also want Transportation Minister Mao Chi-kuo to think outside the box, and add sea transport as an option to the traditional road and rail links. The government could also increase the use of the railway by having more freight and cars transported by train, the Green Party said, describing those alternative forms as “green transportation links.”


Updated : 2021-12-08 13:55 GMT+08:00