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Transcript of remarks by STH on Hong Kong Section of the XRL project
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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, on the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link project at the ground floor lobby of the West Wing, Central Government Offices today (February 29):

Reporter: Mr Cheung...@are you confident that ultimately with extra meetings in March, the funding can be approved?

Secretary for Transport and Housing: Based on the discussion with the MTR Corporation just now, the understanding is that the Government has to decide whether it is possible to get (the) additional funding approval by the Finance Committee if within March, or else the Government would have to notify the Corporation to suspend works. But of course suspending works is a very complicated exercise which will have serious consequences. So we would not want to take this very lightly, but we have to allow for that possibility because time is really running out. So I have asked the Corporation to provide me with an execution plan for suspension works within two weeks so that we know all the steps to be involved once (the) Government triggers the suspension notification.

Reporter: If this funding cannot be passed in March, what is the worst case scenario?

Secretary for Transport and Housing: If we cannot secure the additional funding within March, irrespective of whether we might get funding on a future date, but within March, once the hope of getting additional funding is gone, then we would have to give notice to the MTR Corporation to suspend works. Just suspending works itself would involve $233 million per month, so it depends on how long the works would be suspended. But that's not all, because after suspension, if we want to resume work, that would involve additional cost and the additional cost could be quite significant. We don't know the exact figure yet. We have to work it out, (the) MTR Corporation also looks into the situation. Right now we have asked the MTR Corporation to work out the actual logistics for executing a suspension plan because the possibility of triggering suspension of works could not be underestimated.

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

Ends/Monday, February 29, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:58

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