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1. Independent Is Elected Taipei Mayor as Taiwan’s Governing Party Falters – NYTimes “I think the result is a very strong signal not only to the K.M.T., but a signal to Beijing, too,” said Hsu Szu-chien, a scholar of Chinese politics at Academia Sinica, a state-financed research institution in Taipei. “Particularly after the Occupy Central movement, I think the Taiwanese voters are alarmed by the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong.”
Related: Taiwan premier resigns after Nationalist Party suffers heavy losses (+video) – CSMonitor The pro-China Nationalist Party lost eight city and county elections Saturday, pointing to an electorate that is souring on Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou. Premier Jiang Yi-huah, the head of the Cabinet, resigned Saturday.
2. Xi eyes more enabling int’l environment for China’s peaceful development – Xinhua At the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, underscored the importance of holding high the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation, pursuing China’s overall domestic and international interests and its development and security priorities in a balanced way, focusing on the overriding goal of peaceful development and national renewal, upholding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, fostering a more enabling international environment for peaceful development and maintaining and sustaining the important period of strategic opportunity for China’s development. These efforts will ensure the realization of the “two centenary goals”(doubling the 2010 GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents and finishing the building of a society of initial prosperity in all respects when the CPC celebrates its centenary and turning China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious when the People’s Republic of China marks its centenary) and the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation, Xi said. // text of his speech from Xinhua 习近平出席中央外事工作会议并发表重要讲话
3. 15 Dead After Attack In West China’s Xinjiang Region An attack in China’s troubled western Xinjiang region left 15 people dead and 14 injured, state media reported Saturday, the latest in a wave of ethnic violence there that has claimed dozens of lives over the past year. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the attack took place at a “food street” Friday in Shache county, the same region where state media said a series of attacks in July left 96 people dead, including 59 assailants. // 新疆莎车暴恐案18名群众死伤 11名暴徒被击毙
Related: China, US targeting terror online – People’s Daily Online Counterterrorism work between China and the United States has helped authorities track down and delete a number of violent, terrorist video and audio programs stored on US servers, a senior official from the Ministry of Public Security said. “We have agreed on enhancing judicial cooperation on fighting terrorism, especially cracking down on violent and terrorist audio and video files released online in the US,” said Yang Shaowen, deputy director of the ministry’s International Cooperation Bureau.
Related: China rebukes Turkey for offer to shelter Uighur refugees | Reuters Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Wednesday reported a request by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for Thailand to send the Uighurs there, a move that angered China, which views their move to Thailand as “illegal immigration”. Asked for a response on Turkey’s offer, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the case was a matter for China and Thailand and “the relevant country” should stop interfering.
4. Q. and A.: Zhang Lifan on the New Chinese Nationalism – NYTimes.com In an interview, Mr. Zhang discussed Mr. Zhou [Xiaoping], Chinese nationalism and the rise in anti-Western rhetoric from the Communist Party establishment.
5. China takes ‘zero tolerance’ approach to regional polluters: Cabinet | Reuters Authorities across China have been ordered to take part in a comprehensive inspection program to be completed by the end of 2015, said the policy document that was released on the official government website late on Wednesday. The program’s findings will be released publicly under a policy of enhanced transparency and accountability, it said, and any regional regulations that hinder enforcement of national environmental legislation must be annulled by June 2015.
Related: Hebei Gets Little for Helping Neighbors with Smog Problem, Official Complains – Caixin A Hebei official says the northern province gets little reward for cooperating with its neighbors to cut air pollution, and the problem is being exacerbated by a slowing economy. Hebei has to look at the big picture when it comes to cooperating with Beijing and Tianjin, provincial deputy governor Yang Chongyong said at a forum, “but if we simply cease production en masse and lay off workers in droves without being provided with new projects to create new jobs, how are we going to safeguard people’s incomes and their well-being?”
Related: Q. and A.: Alex Wang and Ann E. Carlson on the U.S.-China Climate Accord – NYTimes This is the first time that China has officially announced a goal to peak carbon emissions, and the nonfossil energy goal represents a $2 trillion commitment to cleaner energy, according to one estimate. Supporters believe that the announcement is an important long-term signal that China intends to continue to press for economic transformation — shifting away from heavy industry to high-value-added, low-carbon industries and services. This sort of commitment has all sorts of potential follow-on effects.
Related: Dense smog shrouds China’s Beijing – Xinhua slideshow. and here is the view from my apartment Saturday afternoon. Can you find the 330M tall China World Tower? Winds have picked up, Sunday air much better
6. China to raise oil product consumption tax – Xinhua The consumption tax on gasoline will rise from 1 yuan (0.16 U.S. dollar) to 1.12 yuan per liter while that on diesel from 0.8 yuan to 0.94 yuan per liter, according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Administration of Taxation…The tax adjustment will offset the impact from the crude oil price drop in the international market…The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic regulator, announced on Friday after fine-tuning the tax that it will maintain retail fuel prices at the current level, reversing market expectations for the ninth price cut since July…The increased income from the tax lift will be used in pollution control and the battle against climate change, as well as encouraging purchase of new energy vehicles to promote energy saving.
7. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, 2014 National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction congrats to Evan Osnos. A terrific book, all 17,000+ of you who read Sinocism should read it if you have not already. He signed two copies for our twins, when they are older they will likely find this book about the place they spent their first years very interesting. You can buy it here on Amazon if you do not already own it.
Related: First Family Bought Books From Local Store For Small Business Saturday – Business Insider The White House released a list of the books purchased by the Obama trio…Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
8. Another Brother in Prominent Shanxi Family Is Target of Graft Investigation – Caixin Ling Jihua’s brother // Four months after an investigation into Ling Zhengce, the former vice chairman of the political consultative conference in the northern province of Shanxi, was announced by the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog, his younger brother, Ling Wancheng, has also been detained. Ling Wancheng, 55, started his career as a journalist, then did businesses in the media sector and financial market. He holds many prominent titles, including general manager and chairman of telecom value-added service provider the365.net, chairman of Beijing Huijin Lifang Investment Management Co., and deputy director of the state broadcaster CCTV subscription golf and tennis channel.
China may soon announce plan to insure deposits: sources | Reuters China’s central bank has drawn up plans for the introduction of an insurance system for bank deposits, and the draft rules could be announced soon, three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. China has considered insuring savers’ deposits for around two decades, but the plans took on new urgency in the past year as the country sought to deepen economic reforms.
Wasted investment: China’s $6.8-trillion hole? | The Economist HAS CHINA really blown $6.8 trillion on worthless investments over the past five years? This is the startling claim made by two Chinese government researchers that has, understandably, caused quite a stir. If true, it would mean that fully 37% of Chinese investment since 2009 was wasted on building bridges to nowhere and homes with no one in them. There is, without question, plenty of worrying evidence that Chinese investment has become less efficient in recent years. But a closer look at how the researchers produced the $6.8 trillion figure badly damages their claim. Calling it a back-of-the-envelope estimate would be undeserved praise. // Simon Rabinovitch demolishes this study. The Financial Times misses him already, his hiring a big win for The Economist
China’s Stocks Cap Best Week in Four Years on Stimulus Outlook – Bloomberg The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) rose 2 percent to 2,682.84 at the close. The measure advanced 7.9 percent this week, the most since October 2010, after the central bank unexpectedly lowered deposit and lending rates to support an economy that’s expected to grow this year at the slowest pace since 1990. The People’s Bank of China may also soon cut reserve-requirement ratios, according to First Shanghai Securities.
China overtakes Japan as world’s second-biggest stock market | The Japan Times China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest stock market for the first time in three years amid growing investor confidence that policymakers in Beijing will revive the economy with monetary stimulus. China’s market capitalization climbed to $4.48 trillion Thursday after a 33 percent increase this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Japan’s slipped to $4.46 trillion and has dropped 3.2 percent since the end of December. China was briefly the second-biggest market, behind the United States, in March 2011, after an earthquake in Japan sent shares tumbling in Tokyo.
Was China Ready to Bail Out AIG? – MoneyBeat – WSJ Mr. Boies: “During that week, were you concerned that the Chinese not lose confidence in the American economy and in the ability of the American government to deal with the financial crisis?” Mr. Paulson: “You betcha. That was my primary concern with regard to China throughout this crisis.”
China mogul’s cinema chain gets nod for mainland IPO that might raise $326 million | Reuters The listing approval was announced late Friday by China Securities Regulatory Commission. It comes as Wang, who Forbes magazine says is China’s fourth-richest man, prepares a huge initial public offering in Hong Kong for his real estate unit, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co (IPO-DWC.SS). The two listings, expected to be completed before the end of the year, would raise capital to accelerate Wang’s expansion in property and entertainment.
Leaning Shanghai Disney Relocation Homes Called Safe by Owners | Mingtiandi Last week the twin 15-storey buildings were found to have leaned so far over that the tops of the two towers had collided with each other and begun cracking. The two blocks in Chuansha town are part of a project completed by Xinyuan Real Estate in 2012 and later sold to the local government to be used as relocation homes for families displaced by the nearby Shanghai Disneyland project.
Black Friday taps into Chinese consumers – Xinhua However, the response from Chinese shoppers was under whelming. Some shoppers found the offers “too narrow” and were put off by the product descriptions only being in English.
The Best Way to Play “Built in China” – Barron’s China’s President Xi Jinping has big dreams. At the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing, he pushed a New Silk Road project and pledged to help build roads and rails to connect China with Central Asia and Eastern Europe. China’s railway stocks would be major beneficiaries. The “Built By China” concept is a brilliant way to revive China’s investment growth. Beijing knows it can no longer bet on manufacturing and property to provide strong returns.
Indonesia Formally Pledges to Join China-Sponsored Regional Bank – NYTimes Indonesia’s finance minister, Bambang Brodjonegoro, signed the agreement to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on Tuesday at the offices of the Ministry of Finance in the capital, Jakarta, the ministry said. Mr. Brodjonegoro had indicated this month that his country was willing to join the bank at an early date.
People’s Daily Details Extent of Ex-Security Chief’s Graft Probe – Bloomberg The Zhou campaign has focused on five groups of people, according to the People’s Daily post. They are his relatives; former secretaries; public security officials; colleagues from his time at China National Petroleum Corp.; and officials from the province of Sichuan where Zhou was party secretary. Among those targeted are the former vice chairman of the public security ministry and the former head of the Beijing State Security Bureau, People’s Daily said. At least six relatives are also under scrutiny, including his eldest son, Zhou Bin, his daughter-in-law, a brother and a nephew. // 【揭秘】中纪委掀翻周永康的“五大外围战”
Communist Party publishes ‘adultery map’ of unfaithful Chinese officials – Telegraph Hubei is shamed as the Chinese province with the highest number of philandering Communist Party officials, followed by Shanxi, Beijing and Guangdong
《新闻1+1》 20141128 党政机关用房新标准 关键在落实！_新闻频道_央视网(cctv.com) CCTV 1+1 on why Beijing can’t control local government’s building of ridiculous and wasteful local government buildings // 26年前就有了党政机关楼堂馆所的限建令，
徐才厚案延至文工团 前总政歌舞团长疑被抓_中国-多维新闻网 lots of rumors again that Zhang Jigang, deputy director of the People’s Armed Police political department, former head of the song and dance troupe of the General Political Department, co-director of the 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony and per Wikipedia the holder of “the highest non-combat military officer rank in China” has been detained as part of the Xu Caihou rollup // 军队反腐持续，蔓延至文工团。前总政治部歌舞团团长、
吉林省军区宋玉文亡殁 未获人大哀悼_政经频道_财新网 Song Yuwen, deputy political commissar of the Jilin Military District has died. Announcement made via provincial NPC announcing he has died and so is no longer a member…no word on cause, or funeral. Raising lots of speculation… // 吉林省人大代表、吉林省军区副政委宋玉文近日亡殁，
Military’s rule on preventing duty crimes to take effect – Xinhua A working rule to prevent duty crimes was recently issued by the Chinese army and will be put into operation on Dec. 1. The rule was jointly issued by the General Staff Headquarters, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department and the General Armament Department of the People’s Liberation Army. The rule focuses on some key fields prone to corruption, including personnel, finance, construction, oil management, materials and armament procurement, health care, real estate, and reception services. // 四总部颁发细则：
Prince William to visit Japan and China, as Kate stays at home – Telegraph The Duke will spend three days in each country in February and March at the request of the Government. He will visit cities including Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai. His visit will be the most high-profile royal visit to China since the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the country in 1986.
Vietnam yields cautionary tale over Chinese investment | beyondbrics Outwardly, tensions have been temporarily patched up. Government officials on both sides have agreed to paper over mutual differences. Official bilateral trade has grown 15 per cent year on year, and in late September a new Asia Development Bank-funded expressway connecting Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, with the Chinese border at Lao Cai was formerly inaugurated. But since May’s anti-China riots, Chinese lenders have effectively frozen credit lines to many Vietnamese engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, leaving a number of projects in limbo and having forced some into restructuring. Unless this changes, Vietnam will have to rely heavily on South Korean and Japanese financing and subcontracting to fill the void.
China Mulls Building Naval Base in Namibia, Namibian Times Says – Bloomberg China is discussing the construction of a base over the next 10 years in Namibia, southwest Africa, for the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Namibian Times reported. The base in Walvis Bay will be one of 18 that will be established in various regions, the paper reported Nov. 19, citing unidentified “Chinese media.” The Namibian Times report was based on an unofficial Chinese Internet report and was “inaccurate,” “exaggerated” and therefore “groundless,” Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said at a monthly press conference
Venezuela Burns Through Third of New Chinese Money in a Week – Bloomberg The country’s reserves dropped to $22.2 billion today, according to central bank data. A collapse in global oil prices pushed Venezuela’s foreign currency holdings to an 11-year low earlier this month. Maduro on Nov. 18 ordered the Chinese loan proceeds to be moved from an off-budget fund, so that they would show up in reserves and help boost investor confidence in an economy beset by the world’s highest inflation and widest budget deficit. The following day, Venezuelan bonds rose the most in six years in intraday trading.
Canada Set to Announce New Immigrant Investor Plan – WSJ Canada is set to announce a new program that would enable some prospective immigrants to acquire residency visas by investing at least 1 million Canadian dollars ($890,000) in a venture-capital fund, a scheme some other western countries have used to attract wealthy, mainly Chinese, newcomers. Ottawa will create an new immigrant class for individuals who could place C$1 million to C$2 million in a VC fund that would in turn invest in startups, according to a person familiar with the matter. The government is targeting investments totaling around C$120 million, that person said.
The uncomfortable truth about ‘comfort women’ | The Japan Times In recent weeks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his chief Cabinet secretary have accused the Asahi Shimbun of “shaming Japan.” In August, the newspaper retracted articles based on the testimony of a Japanese solider, Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have rounded up “comfort women.” Comfort women is a euphemism for the females serving as prostitutes to the Japanese military during World War II. The conservative press, led by the ultranationalist Sankei Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun, seized upon the Asahi’s partial retraction of past reporting as absolute proof that the government had no role in coercing women
Japan military chief urges early crisis management pact with China | Reuters Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed this month to start work on maritime crisis management. Such talks have been halted since Japan nationalised three of the disputed islands in September 2012. “It would allow communication between people at the scene. That’s significant,” Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces’ Joint Staff, told Reuters.
Macau Malaise Spreading To Las Vegas – Business Insider when one junket operator vanished with over a billion in junket cash, the whole system was disrupted and investors wanted higher returns. Xi’s corruption crackdown and China’s economic slow down exacerbated matters. “We see no near-term respite for weak on-the-ground conditions in Macau,” Philip Tulk of Standard Chartered wrote in a recent note. “Junket/VIP’s long-time virtuous cycle has become a vicious one; funding/liquidity remains very tight, and the business model looks near broken.”
Economy Slides in Gambling Hub of Macau Amid Xi Austerity Drive – Bloomberg Gross domestic product fell 2.1 percent from a year earlier, the government said in a statement today.
Journalists file case to the police en masse-RTHK Members of five local journalist groups have gone to police headquarters on Arsenal Street to report recent cases of alleged assault against media staff. They said the recent cases had undermined the personal safety of front-line journalists.
Alibaba-Backed Momo Seeks Up to $232 Million in IPO of Chat App – Bloomberg The company is offering 16 million American depositary receipts for $12.50 to $14.50 apiece, according to a regulatory filing today. Concurrent with the IPO, the company plans a private placement to existing shareholder Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) of $50 million in Class A shares and $10 million in Class A shares to 58.com Inc., the filing shows. The stock will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol MOMO. // Sic Zhang, one of the Momo cofounders, now lives in the US and has a new company called Blupe, “a location-based social networking app that is attempting to help solve the “technology vs. reality” dichotomy that finds people not making true and meaningful connections with each-other”. Momo is listed as the only investor on AngelList. Is this Momo’s US play?
China’s homegrown GPS ready to be used for smartphones – Xinhua A Chinese company has rolled out a chip that can help smartphones get easy access to the country’s homegrown GPS-like Beidou System. The 40-nanometer chip, developed by Shanghai Beiga Satellite Technology Co., was revealed at an exhibition event in Shanghai that promotes civilian use of military technologies.
Nowhere to Pun Amid China Crackdown – China Real Time Report – WSJ That’s the message from the country’s media regulators, who on Thursday derided the use of wordplay in advertisements and broadcasts, saying they were “contradictory in spirit to the promotion and continuance of excellent, traditional Chinese culture.” Examples cited by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or SAPPRFT – whose dim view of language abuse evidently doesn’t include any reticence about long-winded names — include slogans that have been previously used to promote tourism and medical treatment. // 广电总局 电视节目禁用“人艰不拆”等网络用语
China Motorists Exceed 300 Million as Cities Struggle – Bloomberg China now has about the same number of licensed drivers as there are people in the U.S., even though two out of three adult Chinese still aren’t qualified to operate a motor vehicle.
Can China Order Up Soccer Stars? – Bloomberg View This last measure was announced on Wednesday by China’s Ministry of Education, which declared that an evaluation of each student’s “soccer skills” would now become part of his or her permanent assessment file. The state plans to train 6,000 new coaches by 2015 and to install 20,000 soccer “academies” in Chinese schools by 2017. In the city of Guangzhou, students participating in those academies will receive as many as half-a-dozen football lessons per semester.
China teacher strikes hit three more cities – FT.com Teacher strikes have spread to three more cities in China’s slowest growing province this week, reflecting increasing concern among public sector workers over low salaries and pension payments. Teachers and students said the three citywide strikes involved as many as 20,000 educators in northeastern Heilongjiang province, an agricultural and industrial heartland whose economy grew just 5.2 per cent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2013.
Chinese teacher detained for molesting 19 girls – Xinhua A 60-year-old teacher has been detained by Chinese police for molesting 19 primary school girls, local authorities said Saturday. Zhou Jianmin, to retire soon, confessed to police that he molested 19 girls, according to a government statement. Zhou teaches science for grade three and grade four students at Bazishao Township School in Heshan District, Yiyang City of central China’s Hunan Province.
Graphics: China’s Overworked Workers – Caixin Most workers in China have to put in overtime and half of them work four hours more than the legally mandated 40-hour workweek, a report published by Beijing Normal University on November 22 says. The report on the development of the labor market says that China’s laws on working hours per week are similar to those in other countries, but employees at companies in 90 percent of industries must labor more than 40 hours per week. At the same time, workers in the country get fewer paid leave days than people in other countries.
The booming business of the Buddhist “life release” ceremony | CER owever, the resurgence of Buddhism on the mainland in recent decades has prompted a widespread return of the life release ceremony, and of religious organizations dedicated to freeing creatures destined for dinner plates, throughout China. The ceremony, commonly held to originate from India and practiced in China for centuries, has become a regular business for many in China looking to make a quick yuan, and Buddhist groups can individually spend over US$1 million a year buying animals for release. But the economic, ecological and epidemiological consequences of releasing wild animals from a globalized supply chain into China’s fields, forests and lakes may be far greater than one man selling turtles out of buckets suggests.
The Disintegration of Rural China – NYTimes.com The misery in the Chinese countryside is severe but fixable. The government and the public must come out from the shadows and prioritize the rebuilding of village life. The state has the financial resources and expertise to do something. It just needs the will. Joe Zhang
China ramps up crude buying, reserves purchases far ahead of schedule | Reuters China is estimated to be holding double the amount of crude in its strategic reserves than its official plan has revealed, as the world’s top energy consumer takes advantage of a dive in prices to strengthen its position in the global oil market. Based on data compiled by industry and consulting sources, China now has nearly 30 days of stocks to cover crude imports, far ahead of its official schedule showing 15 days.
China Has Pledged to Curb Its Smoking Habit, but Results Are Meager – Caixin In November 2003, China became a party to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an international treaty intended to reduce tobacco-related diseases and deaths. The country’s top legislature formally ratified the convention in August 2005, but implementation has stalled. Under the treaty, China should ban tobacco companies from advertising and public sponsorships, and smokers from lighting up in public areas. It is also required to post anti-tobacco notices on every single pack of cigarettes, but the country’s strong tobacco industry has resisted the measures for years. China’s number of smokers and sales of cigarettes have continued rising. The WHO ranks China 130th out of the 167 countries that signed the convention in terms of implementation of the treaty.
China nears ‘peak coal’ as carbon and clean growth policies bite | Reuters Citigroup, which cut its forecast for Chinese “peak coal” to 2020 last year, has also said China’s fight against pollution, together with efforts to improve energy efficiency and restructure its economy, could bring the date further forward. “We expect this combination of factors to actually slow the power sector’s use of coal leading to a possible flattening and peaking before 2020,” Michael Eckhart, Citi’s global head of environmental finance, told a conference in Beijing this month.
China drafts policy on emergency Ebola diagnosis, approves products | Reuters China has drafted a policy on the emergency use of diagnostic products for the Ebola virus disease and clinical trials, the country’s drug regulator said on Friday, as the number of people affected globally by the epidemic nears 16,000. In a brief statement, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) said it had also approved three companies to produce Ebola diagnosis products for emergency reserve use
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China’s Corn Price Support Problem Like many of China’s policies, this one works well when all prices are going in the same direction. But the wheels come off when prices start falling. The decline in corn prices seems to have caught the Beijing policy makers off guard. The Development Research Center was alarmed to find that China had fallen below 90 percent self-sufficiency in 2012 and that corn imports had surged. They began to fret about an inevitable increase in corn imports. A new 400-page book by DRC policy wonks (China: Food Security and Agricultural Going Out Strategy Research) spends most of its 400 pages talking about China’s need to import corn. It was released in September–two months ago, when it was clear that China had what is probably the biggest corn glut in history. Officials in China recognize that the price support has hit a ceiling.
Capital’s Gov’t Says Subway Fares Will Double Starting December – Passengers will now pay an average of 4.3 yuan per ride, causing complaints about rising costs of transport…The increase comes four months after the public was consulted on public transportation fares. The city’s economic planer said that it received feedback from more than 40,000 people and organizations.