Your Ref.: CBI/BC/7/96

22 January 1997

Mrs. Vivian Kam,
Clerk to Bills Committee,
Legislative Council,
Legislative Council Building,
8 Jackson Road,

Dear Mrs. Kam,

Bills Committee on Railways Bill

Thank you for your letter dated 10 January 1997, and for the opportunity to comment on the need for, and urgency of, the Railways Bill.

At the present time, no legal framework is available to the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) to build new railway projects. The Railways Bill provides this framework. The Bill, once enacted, will enable the alignment of Phase I of the West Rail project (the domestic passenger line) to be publicly delineated and for objections to be lodged and processed. Moreover, in order to complete the Technical Studies programme in respect of this project, a certain amount of geotechnical work must proceed on private land and, at present, neither the Government nor the KCRC can enter onto such land without the Bill becoming law.

The urgency behind enactment of the Bill rests upon the time-table the Government has indicated to KCRC. As it is envisaged that construction would commence by mid-1998, the alignment for the project must not only be delineated, but also secured and cleared of encumbrances, at least legally. Unless this position is reached by mid-1998, there can be no guarantee that KCRC would be able to meet the expected completion dates of 2002 for the line to reach Yuen Long, and of September 2003 for it to reach Tuen Mun Centre.

With regard to your invitation to present our views to the Bills Committee, we would be pleased to make ourselves available to answer any questions that Legislative Councillors may have.

Yours sincerely,

(K.Y. Yeung)
Chairman and Chief Executive

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