The aims of promoting urban-rural development within the framework of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program are to improve the living environment and quality of life while advancing balanced development between urban and rural areas. Resources are limited, however, as reflected in the guiding principles for project selection; i.e., small investment, big benefits, quick turnaround, rapid start-up and making a difference in people’s lives.
Between 2017 and 2021, a special budget totaling NT$137.2 billion (US$4.4 billion) is being invested across three terms to complete projects in 10 major categories, including transportation, general welfare, industry, culture and recreation. These various projects will allow the people of Taiwan to enjoy the benefits of expanded public investment in both the cities and the countryside. Work in the first term (September 2017 to the end of 2018) drew NT$35 billion (US$1.1 billion) from the overall special budget, while NT$72 billion (US$2.3 billion) has been allocated for the second term (2019 through 2020).
The program’s 10 featured project categories
■ Remedying the parking problem: At least 40,000 new parking spaces will be added.
■ Improving the conditions of Taiwan’s roads: The program calls for the resurfacing of 500 kilometers of roadway to first-world standards, as well as the construction and repair of 390 kilometers of sidewalks.
■ Revitalizing town centers: Projects are being undertaken in 20 medium-sized towns, with the goal of comprehensively redeveloping public infrastructure such as commercial districts, historic streets, parks and other green spaces, and stations for buses and other forms of transportation.
■ Developing suitable sites for local industry: Local governments will receive guidance on constructing industrial parks to provide 128 hectares of reasonably priced space for local industry.
■ Providing spaces to support cultural lifestyles: Building on tangible cultural assets and historical sites, this category of projects seeks to enliven spaces where traditions are passed on, preserve old structures, and upgrade museums and cultural centers, with the goal of completing work on 266 local cultural facilities.
■ Refurnishing community-based schools and facilities: Plans call for the addition of 200 public preschool classes and the establishment of 1,790 community service points.
■ Establishing public service sites: Goals include the completion of 609 long-term care resource and service points, 60 care management center branches, and 380 tribal culture and health stations. Also included is the reinforcement or reconstruction of 955 hazardous structures for use as public service centers or disaster evacuation points.
■ Engineering environments for sports and recreation: Four hundred kilometers of new or refurbished bike paths, 250 kilometers of linked Hakka nature trails, and improvements to 200 local sports centers and other athletic facilities will be completed.
■ Highlighting Hakka culture via Romantic Provincial Highway 3: To accentuate traditional Hakka landscapes, funds are being invested in the preservation and revival of features unique to each Hakka cultural region connected by the highway.
■ Building up indigenous areas: Plans call for the construction or overhaul of tribal culture and health stations as well as public service delivery points to create community centers that provide integrated senior care, child care and digital learning stations.