Lawmakers call for withdrawal of government approval and say officials disregarded opponents of the plan Lawmakers yesterday attempted to reverse toll increases at two New Territories tunnels. Members of the transport panel passed a non-binding motion urging the government to withdraw its notice in the Government Gazette last week, which stated the new tolls for Tate's Cairn Tunnel and Tai Lam Tunnel. But the panel's legal adviser, Connie Fong, said the notice could not be withdrawn unless the Executive Council reversed its decision. Democratic Party legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, who moved the motion, said officials had disrespected the Legislative Council's earlier motion against the toll increase for the Tate's Cairn Tunnel by approving the operator's request. The Tate's Cairn Tunnel, which links eastern Kowloon to Sha Tin, will increase its toll by up to 30 per cent in August after Exco approved its application this month. Tai Lam Tunnel on Route Three, which links Yuen Long with Kowloon, and which is allowed by law to automatically adjust its toll with government approval based on its net revenue, will begin charging a new toll of $25 for private cars and taxis, up from $22, starting on Sunday. The motion passed by six votes. Liberal Party legislators voted against the motion, while some legislators of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong abstained. Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, a Liberal Party legislator and member of the Executive Council, said she was disappointed the transport minister Sarah Liao Sau-tung could not attend the panel meeting to explain the government's position. Mrs Chow thought the government had considered the business operation point of view, which could be different from Legco's position because the council stood up for the consumer. Executives from the Route Three Company said they would not consider further postponing the increase after a three-year delay. Tate's Cairn general manager George Lee echoed their views. 'We have an accumulated loss. We don't plan on postponing the increase,' he said. Independent lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip said Route Three's financial position did not warrant an increase and urged the company to provide yearly income data. The general manager of Route Three, Vincent Fong, refused to provide data to the panel, saying that he would submit a written reply instead. Some lawmakers suggested that the government buy the Tate's Cairn Tunnel to prevent further toll rises. But deputy secretary for transport, Annie Choi Suk-han, said that was not a practical option as it would cost more than $1 billion and would go against the small government, big market policy. 'More importantly, we have a commercial contract in place,' she said.