Hong Kong authorities are seeking a further HK$92 million (US$11.87million) of government funds to launch a three-year feasibility study, and a subsequent third round of consultation, on a proposed environmentally friendly transport linkage system for Kowloon East, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday, citing documents sent to lawmakers.
The plan heralds a potential delay in the construction of the single-track railway, which is supposed to begin operation by 2023 as part of a bigger development blueprint for Kai Tak, the site of the former airport.
The government submitted documents to the Legislative Council on Tuesday for discussions at a meeting of the panel on development scheduled for next week.
It has been 10 years since the project was proposed in 2004, with two rounds of public consultations held in 2007 and 2012 respectively.
People in the Kai Tak district had given feedback in the second round of consultation that they strongly opposed the cancellation of a station near the previously proposed railway route. There were also opinions calling for a review on the locations of certain railway stations on the project which involves an elevated monorail system.
Lawmaker Michael Tien said a key challenge lies as to which company should operate the new rail system, following doubts among the public about the project management capability of MTR Corporation (00066.HK), the city’s sole rail system operator.
MTR has come in for sharp criticism recently following delays and cost over-runs on the Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou high-speed rail project.
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