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Subsidy row halts HK rail link

A ROW over subsidies is threatening to halt the start of work on Hong Kong's £180M Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) rail link to the Disney theme park.

The Hong Kong government and MTRC were expected to sign an agreement to build the new link this week.

But this is now expected to be delayed after the influential Legislative Council transport committee voted to oppose the deal.

At issue is the government's plan to waive £69M in dividends from the MTRC. The move would help offset the construction cost of the railway, but is seen as an unofficial subsidy and legislators believe this would be illegal.

Some legislators believe the government will break the law if the decision to waive the dividends can be linked to the decision to approve the project.

MTRC has already issued letters of intent to several contractors but cannot sign formal construction contracts until the dispute is settled.

The 3.5km single-track railway will run from the existing Tung Chung line at a new station at Yam O through the eastern corner of Lantau Island to the Disney theme park site at Penny's Bay.

One of the contractors affected is Gammon Skanka which is set to build the Tai Yam Teng tunnel, in joint venture with parent company Skanska.

MTRC plans to award further contracts for the construction of Yam O and Disneyland stations, in addition to systems contracts covering lifts and escalators, power, track, communications and other electrical and mechanical work.

Design and construction supervision of the line is by a team led by Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong which includes Widnell as quantity surveyor and LPT as architect.

INFOPLUS www. mtr. com. hk

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