Are Waterway Repairs the Grand Canal by Another Name?

      November 27, 2008 12:24

      The budget for next year, currently under review by the National Assembly, allocates W1.68 trillion (US$1=W1,480) for repairing waterways, up a hefty W621.7 billion from this year's allocation. Some critics suspect that is an attempt to hide the budget for a piecemeal version of President Lee Myung-bak’s abortive cross-Korea canal project.

      The project was a key election pledge of Lee's but was ostensibly binned in June due to massive public opposition.

      The figures come from a report by the National Assembly Budget Office. The office adds that in the original budget the government submitted on Oct. 2, the allocation for repairing waterways was W1.23 trillion, but this was increased by W450 billion in the post-financial crisis version on Nov. 7. The government says it is hiking spending on infrastructure projects to boost the ailing economy.

      However, money for dredging and other repairs of the four major rivers that were to be linked under the canal project would more than double from W330 billion in 2008 to W791 billion in 2009.

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