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Budget Speech

Transport Networks

34.    As a major international aviation centre, Hong Kong currently has nearly 110 air carriers operating about 7 100 scheduled flights per week to and from almost 180 cities.  As one of the busiest ports in the world, our city is served by about 80 international shipping lines with some 380 liner services per week to 550 destinations worldwide.  Moreover, we are well connected with the Mainland through four road-based boundary crossings, two rail-based boundary crossings and two cross-boundary ferry terminals.

35.    The Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok is Hong Kong's most important external transport infrastructure and an essential ancillary facility for all industries.  As one of the world's best and busiest airports, it handled almost 60 million passengers and more than 4.1 million tonnes of air cargo last year.  With the burgeoning demand for aviation services, hourly flight movements of the two existing runways will increase from the current 65 to 68 next year.

36.    We are assisting the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) to press ahead with planning for a three-runway system.  The project, estimated to cost over $100 billion, will foster our long-term economic development and enhance our competitiveness.  The AA is conducting the environmental impact assessment with a view to securing approval this year in order to take forward the project as soon as possible for commissioning in 2023.  The AA is preparing the detailed project cost, formulating budgets and examining viable financing options, which include increasing recurrent revenue, issuing bonds and keeping its operating surplus as reserves.  Government will support the financing of the project.

37.    Upon the commissioning of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in 2016, the development potential of Lantau Island will be significantly enhanced as the island transforms from the western end of Hong Kong into the centre of the Pearl River Delta (PRD).  It will then take one hour to travel from Hong Kong to Macao and Zhuhai, three hours to most of the major towns and cities of the Western PRD, and about one day to major cities in Indochina such as Hanoi.  This increased connectivity will help expand our market hinterland, and facilitate people flows and logistics connectivity between Hong Kong and neighbouring areas.

38.    Upon completion of work next year, the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) will reduce the journey time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong to 48 minutes, bringing together our seven-million people metropolitan area and a market of 60-million people.  The XRL will also give passengers easy access to the Mainland's 16 000 kilometres high-speed railway network to all the major cities.

39.    Domestically, we have been investing in large-scale strategic road and railway projects totalling over $90 billion in the past five years to upgrade network efficiency.  Projects under construction include the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link, as well as widening of Tolo Highway and Fanling Highway.  They are on track for completion successively before the end of 2018.  There are also major projects under planning, such as the Central Kowloon Route, the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel, and Tseung Kwan O Cross Bay Link.

40.    As for railways, the West Island Line, the South Island Line (East), the Kwun Tong Line Extension and the Shatin to Central Link, at a total cost of over $110 billion, are all under construction.  They are expected to be completed for commissioning between the end of this year and 2020.  The existing network will then be extended to strengthen the role of railways as the backbone of the public transport system.  Government will shortly announce a blueprint for railway development beyond 2020.



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