In 2017 the government began heavily 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. Funding for the initial four-year phase totals NT$420 billion (US$14.9 billion).
■ Expected benefits
Every NT$1 (US$0.04) invested in the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program will induce private-sector investment of NT$0.78 (US$0.03) and increase the nation's real GDP by NT$1.62. On average, real GDP is 0.71 percent higher per annum with the program than without it. The program also adds about 108,000 job opportunities each year on average.
■ Eight categories
1. Green energy infrastructure: Promote R&D and long-term development of installations relating to solar energy, wind power generation, and science cities such as the Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City.
2. Digital infrastructure: Accelerate promotion of an ultrawide bandwidth society, including construction of related infrastructure.
3. Water environment infrastructure: Expedite construction of infrastructure for water remediation, water supply and water recreation purposes.
4. Railway infrastructure: Connect the high-speed rail and traditional railway systems, upgrade traditional railways, move rail tracks above or below ground, promote urban mass transit, and encourage railway tourism in central and southern Taiwan.
5. Urban and rural infrastructure: Address parking problems, improve roadway quality, develop localized industrial parks, build infrastructure for enriching the cultural lives of local communities, create sports and recreation environments, build up indigenous communities and promote local revitalization.
6. Friendly child care infrastructure: Promote public child care and education facilities for children ages 0-6 to help address the declining birth rate.
7. Food safety infrastructure: Raise the effectiveness of the border inspection and customs clearance system, improve the food safety sampling and testing capabilities of local health bureaus, and strengthen the central government's food safety testing capabilities.
8. Human resources infrastructure: Improve the practical learning environment at vocational schools, create technology innovation and entrepreneurial bases for young people, train high-level professionals in targeted industries, cultivate digital and specialized talent, and promote international industry-academic alliances.