There will be no repeat of the Eastern Harbour Tunnel toll fiasco under a private-public partnership that builds and operates the cross-delta bridge, transport minister Sarah Liao Sau-tung told lawmakers yesterday. Rather, public interest will be a priority when it comes to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, she said. The secretary for environment, transport and works was speaking after lawmakers on the Legislative Council's transport panel raised concerns about another fiasco similar to the tunnel case, in which the operator raised the toll despite public opposition. Dr Liao said the government would study previous 'build, operate, transfer' agreements, to prevent similar mistakes. Under such deals, private companies pay for the construction of infrastructure, then operate it for a period before returning ownership rights to the government. Dr Liao conceded that the agreement with the tunnel company was outdated in that it did not address the public interest. 'We know the problems and will not fall into the traps,' she said. 'We do realise that government regulation is needed for special projects such as this, so that the public resource, which is the bridge, [will be used for its] designed purpose and not solely become a money-generating project.' Dr Liao was presenting the bridge proposal to the Legco panel before the government goes to the public works subcommittee next month to discuss funding for the conceptual design plan. She said construction was unlikely to start this year as planned, but would instead begin early next year. She added that the three governments had decided not to include a train line on the bridge because it would make the tunnel part longer and more expensive. Hong Kong and Zhuhai also have different train systems, adding to the complexity of a train route.