Let the MTR pay for the Link - why not?

Let the MTR pay for the Link - why not?

scmp_01dec15_ns_highspeed6_wck_8504_54371447.jpg

The construction site of West Kowloon Terminus of the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

The completion date of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Hong Kong Section has been postponed yet again, and the most expensive construction project in Hong Kong history will now cost more than HK$80 billion. I know this is not Back to the Future. We cannot foresee any potential slip-ups - like a member of the public filing a judicial review, or vital equipment malfunctioning due to flooding.

But there were problems long before construction began, especially with the proposed border control policy, where mainland law enforcement personnel would handle immigration at West Kowloon Terminus.

Critics questioned this in 2009, claiming it would contradict the Basic Law and the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. With the Link now less than two years away, the government hasn't sorted out the legal or the technical problems.

Back in 2009, the price tag was HK$66.9 billion, to be paid by the public. Now it will cost HK$85.3 billion and the government has decided the extra cash will be paid using public funds, despite the MTR making more than HK$19.4 billion in revenue. Since their mistakes caused most of the delays to the Link, why can't they pay for it?

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Let the MTR pay for the Link

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