Large cost for replacing traffic signs draws criticism

NANJING – Nanjing, capital of East China’s Jiangsu province, is planning to replace all of its traffic signs with new ones, but the high cost of which has stirred up a great deal of public concern.

The city management bureau is expected to replace the city’s 30,000 traffic signs at an estimated cost of 100 million yuan ($15.54 million) in order to prepare for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in the city in 2014.

Internet users expressed doubt and distrust after news of the replacement was reported by local media on Sunday.

“Let’s steal signboards to make a fortune! One board for 3,000 yuan – will it be made of gold, silver or bronze?” a netizen using the screenname “Wang Qian” said in a post on weibo.com, the country’s most popular microblogging site.

Another netizen using the screenname “wandering on a snail” said it was time for the city to put aside “superficial projects” in order to take care of its unseen “real disease.”

“Didn’t you see the city’s severe flooding after the torrential rains? The unseen drainage system is the real disease you need to cure,” the netizen said.

Many netizens urged the local government to reconsider the project and to take the real demands of local residents into consideration.

Xie Shicheng, a professor of politics at Nanjing Normal University, said some government officials tend to focus on image-based projects that will showcase their political achievements, adding that the public rarely falls for such tactics.

“As people continue to increase their awareness and participate more in the administration of public affairs, they will pay more and more attention to government decisions that concern not only themselves, but also other people and aspects,” said Xie.

Xi Hui, an official with the city’s urban management bureau, said that he didn’t expect the replacement project to draw so much negative attention, adding that the price for the project is “fair enough.”

The estimated cost of the project is based on a prior replacement project in which 327 signs were replaced at a total cost of 978,000 yuan.

“The previous project was carried out using a bidding system, which to a large extent minimized the cost,” said Xi.

Xi said that public opinions are welcome and that the final decision will be made based on those opinions.

“Traffic signs are provided for citizens, and we should listen to their opinions,” he said.

Xinhua

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