Politics & Protest Travel & Transport

MTRC set to submit procedural plan on suspending high speed rail if funding not approved

The government’s transport minister has said that the MTR Corporation will submit a plan to the government in a week’s time laying out the procedure for suspending the construction of the beleaguered Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Construction may be halted if additional funding for the project cannot be approved by the end of the month.

The government is seeking additional HK$19.6 billion in funding from the Legislative Council for the completion of the troubled infrastructure project.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said after attending an event on Wednesday that he had met with the MTR Corporation on February 29. He estimated that a plan on suspension procedures would be sent to him by mid-March.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung. File Photo.

“I know that the Legislative Council will hold some additional meetings, I hope that it can be voted on within March,” Cheung said.

Legislative battle

Cheung stressed that the government was still discussing the implementation of a joint immigration facilities at the West Kowloon terminus with mainland authorities. This week, pro-Beijing lawmaker Ng Leung-sing suggested adopting on-train immigration inspections for the project.

The high speed rail site.

The high speed rail site. Photo: expressraillink.hk.

In response, Cheung said that any arrangement would need to be in accordance with the Basic Law and the One Country, Two Systems principle.

He added that specific arrangements have to legally reliable, and feasible on the operational side.

Meanwhile, acting chairman Chan Kam-lam of the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee – which is debating the additional funding – has approved 36 out of 1,262 motions moved by 19 pan-democratic lawmakers, who are attempting to stall the debate.

Chan said that the 36 motions were the only ones directly related to the project.

MTRC set to submit procedural plan on suspending high speed rail if funding not approved