MTR Corporation’s (00066.HK) incoming chairman has urged lawmakers to approve fresh funding for the Hong Kong-Guangzhou high-speed rail project.
If the Legislative Council (LegCo) fails to pass the new budget for the Hong Kong link of the cross-border rail link, it could force a suspension of the project that is already 75 percent complete, Frederick Ma Si-hang warned.
MTR is seeking a nod from lawmakers for a revised HK$84.42 billion budget for the rail project. The project cost is about 30 percent higher than what was originally envisaged.
Drilling works have been completed on a long tunnel, project director Philco Wong said.
Construction is currently at a pace in line with the scheduled progress, he said, adding that he is confident that the link can commence operation in the third quarter of 2018 as planned.
Ma, who will take over as MTR’s chairman from January 1, said it will be a shame if lawmakers fail to approve the budget and force a halt to the construction.
Lawmakers need to approve the additional funding by the end of March next year.
The new budget plan is also subject to approval of a special dividend proposal from the railway operator.
MTR has proposed to distribute HK$19.51 billion in special dividend to its shareholders in return for additional funding for the project.
The Hong Kong government is the largest shareholder in the local railway operator.
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