AN effort by Democrats to improve legislators' monitoring of the Route 3 franchise failed yesterday. The committee stage discussion on amending the Tai Lam Tunnel and Yuen Long Approach Road Bill also dissolved into personal abuse between Liberals and Democrats. The Democrat, Zachary Wong Wai-yin, who moved two amendments in an attempt to increase scrutiny of the Toll Stability Fund, was branded by Liberals as 'left leaning'. Mr Wong suggested the Government run the $7.2 billion project if the consortium, headed by Sun Hung Kai, withdrew after his amendments were passed. He wanted a legislator to join the Toll Stability Fund Committee. And the timetable for future toll increases should be tightened by a resolution reached by legislators. But Liberal Steven Poon Kwok-lim accused Mr Wong of promoting nationalisation and communism by advocating the Government replace the consortium. Mr Poon also questioned whether Mr Wong would dare run for the Tuen Mun seat in September if his amendments were passed. 'If the amendments are passed, the project will be delayed for a few more years. Such an urgently needed piece of infrastructure, which has been sought after for years, will be dropped because of Mr Wong,' he said. Mr Wong's colleague, Lee Wing-tak, rebuffed Mr Poon, saying: 'The demand for increased Legco ability to monitor the toll increase system is by no means a call for nationalisation . . . I would suggest Mr Poon attend one of the external courses offered by universities if he is not sure about the definition.' On the money the Government would receive, Liberal Miriam Lau Kin-yee said: 'The $7.2 billion will allow the Government to set up 126 secondary schools, 10 ordinary hospitals, and two similar to the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.' Democrat chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming concluded: 'It was only a matter of whether the monitoring should be enhanced, there was no need to get into arguments about ideology.' Secretary for Transport Haida Barma repeated that the administration would keep the council informed about plans to review fees. The first amendment was defeated by 36 to 18; the second by 35 to 15. The Route 3 Bill was passed by 30 votes to 16.