The government is promoting the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program to build a new generation of infrastructure for Taiwan's future. This program, which will lay the foundation for the nation's growth over the next 30 years, includes funding for eight categories: railway projects to provide safe and fast transportation, water environments to build resilience against climate change, green energy infrastructure to ensure environmental sustainability, digital infrastructure to create a smart and connected nation, urban and rural projects to balance regional development, child care facilities to reverse declining birth rate trends, infrastructure to ensure food safety, and human resources infrastructure to nurture talent and boost employment.
■ Program term and budget: Under the Special Act for Forward-looking Infrastructure promulgated by presidential decree on July 7, 2017, the program is funded by a special budget of NT$420 billion (US$13.9 billion) over four years, divided into three terms. The first term spanned from September 2017 through December 2018 with a budget of NT$107.1 billion (US$3.5 billion), and the second will run from 2019 to 2020 with a budget of NT$222.9 billion (US$7.2 billion).
■ Expected benefits: Over its four-year term, the program is expected to add NT$470.5 billion (US$15.2 billion) to the real GDP or NT$506.5 billion (US$16.4 billion) to the nominal GDP, contributing an average of 0.1 percentage point to real GDP each year.
■ Fiscal discipline, financial soundness: The Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program will be funded wholly through government-issued debt, but the amount of debt issued under the general and special budgets, averaged each year over the term of the program, is not to exceed the 15 percent limit prescribed in the Public Debt Act. This restriction, applied for the first time, will set a new paradigm and ensure a sound fiscal future for Taiwan. Additionally, overall debt will remain fixed at the current 34.6 percent of GDP so that fiscal soundness can continue to be maintained based on an annual budget of NT$2 trillion (US$64.7 billion).