Date
21 October 2017
The Hong Kong government has earmarked more than HK$100 mln for maintenance fee on a cross-sea bridge that is yet to become operational. Photo: Bloomberg
The Hong Kong government has earmarked more than HK$100 mln for maintenance fee on a cross-sea bridge that is yet to become operational. Photo: Bloomberg

Lawmakers decry ‘unbelievable’ management fee on bridge project

Lawmakers have raised questions over the management fee that has been earmarked for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which is yet to become operational, in the current financial year.

“We are talking about spending over HK$200,000 a day for maintenance across a whole year, and the bridge is still under construction,” Legco member Albert Chan complained.

“With only 123 staff, how could the expenses spiral to over HK$100 million,” Chan said, describing the budget as “unbelievable” and urging authorities to disclose more information on the matter.

The comments came after the government revealed that the cross-sea bridge would require up to HK$100.9 million in management fee for the 2016-2017 financial year, and a team of 123 people from the Highways Department to oversee the project.

The information was disclosed by the Highways Department in a written reply Tuesday following a query from Chan, Apple Daily reports.

Chan said he was not satisfied with the lack of breakdown in the proposed spending of taxpayers’ money.

Fellow lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said the government has a duty to inform the public as to how the HK$100.9 million will be spent for management of the bridge project, which he labeled as a “white elephant”.

Given the many accidents related to the bridge construction work, Kwok wondered if the money being spent on maintenance and management was actually going toward ensuring industrial safety.

In a reply to legislator Gary Fan Kwok-wai, the Highways Department also revealed that the budget allocated for six local infrastructure projects has exceeded by a combined HK$24.6 billion over the past three years.

The budget for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge has swelled by 55 percent from an original estimate.

The reclamation works of Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities also exceeded the original budget by 18 percent to reach HK$35.9 billion, while other cost overruns included the reconstruction and improvement of the Tuen Mun Highway, which has seen its cost rise 47 percent to HK$6.8 billion.

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