The Taipei Times editorialized today on the land expropriation for the rail line in Tainan....
The project, which was approved by the Executive Yuan in 2009, aimed to move an 8km long stretch of railroad track underground. To facilitate the project, the Greater Tainan Government plans to demolish more than 400 houses on the east side of the current tracks in downtown Tainan. When the project is completed, the original surface tracks are to be removed to make way for a park and a commercial district.Lai's claim that Dapu is being expropriated for developers seems like a bit of misdirection. The rationale for the Dapu demolitions is that they are needed to round off a science park..... But your bullshit alarm should be going off. Read that again:
The land expropriation case in Greater Tainan has sparked protest from some households who accused Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) of reaping the benefits of land expropriation and disregarding people’s property rights. They urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to pay as much attention to the case as it has to condemning Miaoli County Government Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over his handling of the Dapu case.
Lai has insisted that the railroad project in Tainan is completely different from the Dapu case, because the expropriation of 62 hectares of land in Dapu was to benefit developers, with most of the seized land to be used to build residential and commercial complexes. The railroad project in Greater Tainan, on the other hand, is a major public construction project, with much of the land to be used for road construction to benefit the city, Lai said.
When the project is completed, the original surface tracks are to be removed to make way for a park and a commercial district.A friend of mine present at a hearing on the issue said that Taiwan Railway officials testified that they did not have enough money to do a deeper line, and they couldn't pay higher prices for the land since they didn't have enough money for that either. So the land was expropriated and compensation was low. TRA officials also said that the underground line will help stimulate Tainan's economy, though it is hard to see how, unless they mean the commercial development which is going to take place above it. I'm trying to track down some artist's rendering of what the freed-up land is going to look like, but I've heard that includes shopping malls. We both know, dear reader, that the land is going to make some big businessman a ton of money on that "commercial district". None of which will reach the original land owners.
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