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Transport and logistics

Why can’t Hong Kong just buy back Western Harbour Tunnel? It’s not that complex

  • The government has known about the reversion of ownership for 25 years and is only now making new operational plans. This is absurd dereliction of duty
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 5:00pm

Hong Kong’s transport minister has ruled out further changes to the proposed tunnel toll revision (“Transport chief sticks to plan on proposed changes to tunnel tolls”, November 16). The whole situation would be comical if it was not such an important issue.

The revised tunnel charges will take effect from January 1, 2020. Why not sooner?

The government has ruled out buying back the Western Harbour Tunnel as it would be “costly and financially complex”. Really? It is simple. Just look at the tunnel’s net operating income for the last two years and, based on that amount, pay the operator the discounted full amount of future earnings till August 1, 2023, when its franchise expires. What is complex about that?

To compensate the operator so it would reduce the fee charged to cars and trucks – now that’s very complex.

Cost of your commute could double as government targets congestion

If tolls are raised at the Cross Harbour Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Tunnel and reduced for the Western tunnel, it naturally follows that more people will use the Western tunnel, as intended. So how to fairly compensate the partial loss of fare offset by the greater usage and in turn greater fare revenue? Now that is complex.

The government has known about the reversion of ownership for 25 years and is only now making new operational plans. This absurd dereliction of duty should result with the roll of somebody's head.

J.R. Robertson, Wan Chai