|The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is set to miss its completion deadline in 2016, the transport chief admitted yesterday, stressing the under a “quality first” principle all sides are striving to finish the project by 2017.
That came after the government asked the Legislative Council for another HK$5.46 billion to cover the cost overrun. Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung denied Hong Kong is to blame for the delay as all three governments are nervously watching the mega project’s progress.
Laying sections of tubes on the seabed and joining them into a tunnel is time-consuming as weather and tides pose formidable technical challenges, Cheung explained.
Asked whether the 2017 target would also be missed, Cheung hoped “things would not get so dramatic.”
On the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail, another giant infrastructure project that is delayed, Cheung said the government is discussing stationing mainland custom officials at the West Kowloon terminal.
The priority now is addressing social concerns and constitutional implications caused by the joint-border-check proposal, Cheung said, adding the Department of Justice and the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau are involved in the talks.
Meanwhile, Cheung said the Airport Authority submitted a proposal last month on raising funds for building the controversial third runway.
The government is looking into cost- effectiveness and feasibility. The Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau governments are aiming to coordinate the use of congested air space.
On housing policies, Cheung said the government is not going to sell public rental units “too cheaply” to eligible tenants under a pilot scheme. Limits will be imposed to prevent owners selling them for steep profits.