1. Elevating Tainan’s convenience and accessibility: The commencement of the third phase of construction of the Tainan Metropolitan Expressway
(1) Tainan covers a large land area; therefore, the creation of a convenient transportation network to shorten the distance between central Tainan and outlying areas has always been one of the Tainan City Government’s core objectives. During his term as mayor, Premier Lai led the Tainan City Government in garnering central government support for the construction of the Tainan Metropolitan Expressway to strengthen east-to-west transportation links in the Greater Tainan Region and to rapidly disperse rush hour traffic flow in the downtown area.
(2) When completed, the Tainan Metropolitan Expressway will be fourteen kilometers in length, and will connect Provincial Highway 1 with Provincial Highway 17. The project is being carried out in four phases, with a total expenditure of NT $15.487 billion. The first section of the expressway was opened to the public in January, 2015. Construction for phase two has now entered the design stage; the design work is scheduled to be outsourced via online tendering at the end of the year. The groundbreaking ceremony for the third phase took place on Saturday, March 17, and the environmental impact assessment for the fourth phase is now underway.
(3) After construction on the Tainan Metropolitan Expressway is completed, it will become Tainan City’s fourth major east-west expressway, and serve as an alternative route for rapid access to and from central Tainan. The Tainan Metropolitan Expressway will serve to connect regional transportation hubs with tourist destinations while promoting industrial development, all with the goal of enhancing Tainan’s overall development. I would like to thank Premier Lai for leading a team of representatives from the Executive Yuan to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the third phase of construction. In addition, I would also like to thank Deputy Mayor Wu and the Director-General of the Public Works Bureau for their efforts in promoting this project. Finally, I encourage the Public Works Bureau and other concerned departments to work in conjunction with the central government to ensure the success of the third phase of construction. Please also ensure that the project is carried out according to schedule.
2. Creating the Williamsport of the East: Construction of the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium and Training Center has begun
(1) Baseball is a major sport in Tainan City, which is home to internationally renowned baseball players such as Chien-Ming Wang and Hong-Chih Kuo. Tainan’s citizens are passionate about baseball. Thus, Premier Lai began drawing up plans to create the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium and Training Center, billed as the Williamsport of the East, during his term as Mayor.
(2) Building the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium and Training Center will be the first step in achieving the objective of creating an eastern version of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. An estimated NT $2.2 billion will be invested in this construction project, which will cover a land area of thirty hectares that will ultimately contain two adult stadiums, two youth stadiums, and two infields. The Center will also include a series of creative venues, such as a baseball hall of fame, a baseball experience area, and an area showcasing the baseball bat manufacturing process. The Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium and Training Center and the adjacent National Museum of Taiwan History together will form a center for culture, tourism, leisure, and sports.
(3) Over a two year period, six tenders were held, yet none fulfilled the criteria for bid opening. Finally, the first phase of construction was successfully outsourced in February 2018, with the groundbreaking ceremony taking place on Saturday, March 17 to symbolize the official launch of the Tainan Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium and Training Center construction project. I would like to thank Premier Lai for personally hosting the groundbreaking ceremony, and express my appreciation for the support of the Department of Sports and of the legislators. I would also like to thank the Public Works Bureau and the Bureau of Education for their hard work in promoting this project. In consideration of the upcoming 2019 U-12 Baseball World Cup, let us continue our efforts to ensure that construction is completed on schedule. Please also proactively push forward the design and outsourcing work of the hybrid venues for phase two. Let us all work together to realize Tainan’s aspiration of becoming the Williamsport of the East as soon as possible.