Hong Kong will build a HK$5.5 billion (US$709.6 million) extension to the Tuen Mun rail line but makes no reference to a long-awaited link to Tsuen Wan district, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday, citing the government’s latest railway development plan.
A Tuen Mun-Tsuen Wan link, which would connect the two towns, had been widely expected by Tuen Mun residents, many of whom have been lured to the district by such a prospect.
Instead, the government is planning the Tuen Mun South Extension Line, which will extend the West Rail Line to southern Tuen Mun by 2.4 kilometers, the report said.
It is one of seven projects under the 2014 railway development plan, expected to cost a combined HK$110 billion.
Property developers have used the proposed Tsuen Wan link to promote their housing projects in Tuen Mun, where an apartment costs up to HK$10,000 per square foot, comparable to prices in urban areas.
Also, a proposed airport line between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is often mentioned as an added come-on.
The project is on hold after the administration of former chief executive Donald Tsang balked at the HK$110 billion price tag.
It was the only one of 10 major infrastructure developments under Tsang’s government not to make it.
Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan were created in the 1960s under the government’s new town development program.
A rail line linking them has been under discussion since the 1980s.
Meanwhile, some netizens questioned the need for a Tuen Mun-Tsuen Wan link, saying the money should go instead to other districts as Tuen Mun residents are already served by the West Rail Line.
Yuen Long residents said they would still have difficulty with their transport needs after the Tuen Mun South Extension is built.
Some netizens challenged the HK$5.5 billion price tag of the West Rail extension in relation to the 100,000 residents it is projected to serve.
But those from Tuen Mun complained about longer travel time on the West Rail Line and said the district’s 500,000 residents deserve a direct and convenient transport to Kowloon.
Tsuen Wan district councilor Michael Tien, chairman of the Legislative Council railway sub-committee, said a Tuen Mun-Tsuen Wan link is too expensive.
Tuen Mun district councilor So Shiu-shing said he is disappointed by the government’s decision not to build the project.
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