Concern groups are warning that the proposed third airport runway could end up 40 percent overbudget if it suffers serious delays similar to the national high-speed railway project, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.
Albert Lai, policy convenor of the Professional Commons, said the runway project could ultimately cost HK$200 billion (US$25.8 billion), 40 percent higher than its estimated HK$141.5 billion price tag.
Costs could spike because of ongoing land reclamation in the Pearl River delta which is pushing up the price of sea sand, among others, Lai said.
Green Sense chairman Roy Tam said issues over air space sharing with Shenzhen which come down to the Basic Law could hold up construction.
Also, there are potential oversight-related problems after the government decided to bypass the Legislative Council for funding approval and undertake the project using external funds and a user-pays scheme, he said.
In April last year, the government said the Hong Kong section of the national high-speed rail will be delayed by a year to 2017, with costs estimated to increase to HK$81.9 billion from HK$65 billion.
But media reports citing unnamed government sources reported over the weekend that the project will be further delayed beyond 2017 and construction costs will exceed HK$90 billion.
Translation by Vey Wong
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