Hong Kong MTR

'Bulk of high-speed rail link completed': Hong Kong's MTRC incoming chief tells Legco in urge to approve funding

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 December, 2015, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 December, 2015, 11:02pm

Three-quarters of the high-speed rail project has been finished, the MTR Corporation announced yesterday during a visit by 10 lawmakers to the West Kowloon terminus construction site.

The company said work for the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou railway was on schedule and the project was expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2018 at a total cost of HK$84.42 billion - HK$19.6 billion over the original budget.

READ MORE: Hong Kong taxpayers to bail out MTR for express rail link to Guangzhou: Government hopes Legco will agree to HK$19.6 billion in extra funding

The government is hoping to obtain Finance Committee approval for the extra money by February. Pan-democratic lawmakers have criticised a government plan to have mainland immigration officers stationed at the West Kowloon terminus, saying it would undermine "one country, two systems".

Incoming MTR chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said construction of the terminus was based on the assumption that mainland and Hong Kong checkpoints would be located there.

"If Legco fails to approve the budget, it will be a great pity," said Ma.

But Claudia Mo Man-ching, one of the lawmakers visiting the site, said: "The issue of the high-speed rail is also the issue of ... the 'one country, two systems' policy … It's unreasonable to create a through train for national laws to come to Hong Kong."

But National People's Congress Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said yesterday that Beijing would not use co-location as an excuse to introduce national security laws.