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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session

    Following is the transcript (English portion) of a media session given by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, after he and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Huang Huahua, co-chair the Eighth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference this afternoon (September 28):

Reporter:  There has been a lot of concerns that if the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge is going to be privately funded then the toll for using the road could be quite high. Could you just clarify whether the bridge is likely to be privately funded and how will the Government deal with such concerns? Can you also tell us when will the bridge begin to be built?

Chief Executive: We are proceeding with the construction of the bridge as quickly as possible. As you know, we have a specialist liaison meeting representing the interests of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao, discussing various aspects of the construction, design and funding for the bridge. There are altogether 20-odd topics under discussion. We haven't reached the stage of funding yet, but as far as we are concerned there is enormous private sector interest in the construction of this bridge and that I am sure would feature prominently at the end of the day. But to what extent private funding should be allowed in this project is yet to be decided. Most important of all, we must conclude our report on various technical, financial, economic and strategic issues, submit the report to the Central Government to authorise the project. So as far as we are concerned we are proceeding as quickly as possible. To what extent the funding will be provided by the private sector is a matter decided by the market. As far as toll is concerned, toll must be determined at a rate the market can bear. If it is a privately funded project, the private financier would want people to use the bridge and therefore the toll must be reasonable, otherwise nobody would use the bridge.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Issued at HKT 19:37


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