Ma On Shan link stuck in its tracks
THE deadlock between the Government and legislators over the Ma On Shan railway remains unresolved, with an official stressing the administration will not change its stance.
Acting Secretary for Transport Kevin Ho Chi-ming reiterated that the Government would not commit to building an extension line between Tai Wai and Kowloon.
'We stated clearly the last time we were in Legco that we did not see the need for such a commitment.' Mr Ho said the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation needed an injection of $8.5 billion before April next year otherwise the rail link in Ma On Shan, together with another line from Hunghom to Tsim Sha Tsui, would be delayed. This meant that the Government would table funding again to legislators before the end of the year.
The funding proposal was withdrawn in June after three political groups - the Democratic Party, The Frontier and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) - threatened to vote down the application.
Legislators were dissatisfied with the lack of a firm government commitment for an extension line to be constructed between Tai Wai and Kowloon.
Mr Ho said his bureau could only decide on the priority of individual projects after a railway development study. An environmental impact assessment of the Ma On Shan rail project would be completed this month.
Democratic Party legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said that he was disappointed with the Government's stance.
'We can't approve the funding unless the Government commits to an extension line to Kowloon,' he said.
But the DAB's Lau Kong-wah said the party would reconsider the funding when all the environmental assessment reports had been submitted.
'We will think about it when we have all the details,' said the lawmaker who strongly opposed the scheme two months ago.
The Government has projected that population figures in Ma On Shan will rise from 330,000 to 490,000 by the year 2010, which will make it impossible for bus services from the University train station to absorb the growing volume of passengers.