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Speech by STH on transport at LegCo Finance Committee special meeting

     Following is the English translation of the speech by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, on transport at the special meeting of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Finance Committee today (April 3):

Honourable Chairperson,

     Today, I would like to brief Members on our priority areas under the transport portfolio in the new financial year.

     Regarding railway infrastructure, the construction works of the West Island Line, the South Island Line (East), the Kwun Tong Line Extension, the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Shatin to Central Link are in progress. We expect them to be completed in phases between the end of this year and 2020. As for the long-term railway development of Hong Kong, we have commissioned a consultant to conduct a study for the Review and Update of the "Railway Development Strategy 2000". The study has been completed. Having regard to the consultant's overall recommendations, we are formulating the blueprint for railway development beyond 2020 and will announce it later this year.

     Upon completion of the railway development strategy, and having regard to the planning and progress of implementation of the major transport infrastructure, we will conduct a study on the long-term development and layout of public transport modes, in order to formulate our future strategy for public transport services.

     At the same time, we are pressing ahead with the implementation of large-scale local road projects, including the construction of, for instance, the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and the Island Eastern Corridor Link, as well as the widening of Tolo Highway and Fanling Highway. There are also projects under planning, such as the Central Kowloon Route, the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel and the Tseung Kwan O Cross Bay Link. In addition, we are proceeding in full speed with the related local projects of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), including the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities and Hong Kong Link Road projects, to tie in with the commissioning of the HZMB Main Bridge in 2016.

     Honourable Chairperson, the Government accords great importance to tackling the road congestion problem in Hong Kong. I have already invited the Transport Advisory Committee to conduct a study on the problem and recommend practicable short- and medium-term improvement measures to the Government before the end of this year. The Government will also explore the possibility of the application of electronic road pricing in the Central district upon the commissioning of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

     As regards the aviation sector, the Government is actively assisting the Airport Authority (AA) in pressing ahead with the planning work for the three-runway system (3RS) at the Hong Kong International Airport. At present, the AA is finalising the statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report. Upon successful completion of the EIA process and other relevant statutory procedures, the construction works will commence as early as possible with a view to commissioning the 3RS in 2023.

     To enhance training for practitioners of the aviation industry in order to cope with the rapid growth of the civil aviation industry on a continuous basis, the Civil Aviation Department will commission a consultancy study to explore the feasibility of establishing a civil aviation training institute. In addition, the review on the framework for designation of Hong Kong airlines has recently been completed, and the relevant industry players have been informed of the fine-tuned guidelines.

     In addition, the Government has launched the $100 million Maritime and Aviation Training Fund. Through training schemes and scholarships, as well as other training arrangements, the Fund aims to build up a vibrant, diversified and competitive pool of professionals and technical personnel, as well as to attract young, new recruits, to support the sustainable development of the maritime and aviation sectors in Hong Kong. In the meantime, the Government is following up a consultancy recommendation on setting up a new statutory maritime body to propel more comprehensive development of the maritime sector.

     Regarding the development of the port, the two consultancy studies, namely the Preliminary Feasibility Study for Container Terminal 10 at Southwest Tsing Yi and the Study on the Strategic Development Plan for Hong Kong Port 2030, are being finalised for completion. Based on the study results, we will comprehensively consider the long-term strategy and development plan for Hong Kong Port by taking into account the views of stakeholders, and the local and global economic situation. We are also studying how to better allocate and manage some existing 100 hectares of port back-up sites in Kwai Tsing District, in order to meet the development and operational needs of the port more effectively.

     On the logistics front, we are conducting a detailed traffic impact assessment in respect of the 10 hectares of land reserved for high value-added logistics use in Tuen Mun West. The results are expected to be available in the second half of this year. We will also carry out district consultation as soon as possible before making available the land in phases.

     As far as marine safety is concerned, the Marine Department has increased its manpower and resources for enhancing marine safety in local waters. As regards the proposed second-phase improvement measures requiring relevant local vessels to install an Automatic Identification System and radar, the trade has been informed that the Government will provide, as appropriate, subsidies to the shipowners for equipment installation as well as for crew members to attend training. We will strive to introduce relevant legislative proposals into LegCo in the 2014-15 legislative year.

     I would be pleased to answer questions from Members with regard to policies. My Secretaries, Directors and other colleagues would also be pleased to answer questions regarding operation and deployment of financial resources.

Ends/Thursday, April 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:15


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