Govt. Seeks to Inaugurate Metropolitan Area Traffic Agency
Plans to build housing towns for newlywed couples in Seoul metropolitan area and accelerate construction of GTX in cooperation with local governments
Minister Kim Hyun-mee of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Gyeonggi-do Gov. Lee Jae-myung and Incheon Mayor Park Nam-chun are hand in hand at their joint meeting at the Seoul Press Center on July 17. (Photo: MOLIT)
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) will join forces with three local governments in the Seoul metropolitan area to improve the transportation networks of the region and solve housing problems. Efforts to solve housing, transportation and urban problems are expected to gain ground since the heads of the ministry and local governments hail from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.
Minister Kim Hyun-mee of the MOLIT, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Gyeonggi-do Gov. Lee Jae-myung, and Incheon Mayor Park Nam-chun had a meeting designed to make joint efforts to address transportation, housing and other urban problems in the Seoul metropolitan area at the Seoul Press Center on July 17.
Minister Kim said, “The Seoul metropolitan area, a common living sphere, will have a low rate of life satisfaction unless it solves transportation, housing and daily life issues as a common living sphere.”
The participants agreed to cooperate on efforts to secure land to build new public housing complexes to and expand welfare improvements in the housing sector. In order to secure land parcels with good location and cheaper prices, areas near urban stations, idle and development restriction zones whose preservation has less value need to be utilized. The ministry plans to build 100,000 units of public apartments for newly-wed couples. The figure will break down to 35,000 units, to be constructed in the existing housing lots, and the remaining 65,000 units will be built in new housing sites.
To meet the goal, support from local governments is a prerequisite. Attention is on the location of the projected public housing complex sites in the Seoul area, to be announced in the second half. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has the authority to lift green belt restrictions.
In the transportation sector, the participants agreed to set up a metropolitan area transportation agency. In order to solve clogged traffic problems in downtown Seoul, such public traffic means as subways and buses need to be operated in a systematic fashion on top of the expanding of roads and railways.
The current public transportation regime makes it hard to achieve cooperation due to local governmental jurisdictions. The ministry submitted a bill to establish a metropolitan area transportation agency under its jurisdiction, which is pending at the National Assembly Administration and Safety Committee. The ministry is seeking to overhaul the special budget on traffic facilities to expand investments to improve metropolitan area traffic, safety and operation and accelerate such core projects as the construction of great train expresses (GTXs).
The ministry and local governments plan to expand support to college dormitory occupants to improve youth’s housing welfare. SH Corp. and public construction corporations in Inchon and Gyeonggi-do plan to provide support to the construction of 5,000 rental units near colleges and universities across the nation.
The local governments shared the view that more public rental housing units need to be supplied to solve housing woes.
Mayor Park said, “The public housing supply rate stands at 90 percent in Singapore, but the figure is a meager 7 percent.” He called for joint efforts to raise the public housing supply. Gov. Lee said the government should take the direction of increasing rental housing units rather than the ones put on public sale. He added that the steps could cause an increase in debts, but raising the portion of rental unit would prevent a sharp jump in housing prices.