LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 411/96-97
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB1/PL/TP/1

LegCo Panel on Transport

Minutes of the Meeting on Friday, 8 November 1996 at 8:30 a.m. in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Members absent :
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Public officers attending :
Item IV
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP,
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP,
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Miss Nancy LAW, JP,
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mrs Jenny Wallis,
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
    Mr LI Wing,
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
    Ms Winnie LAU
    Principal Executive Officer/Resource Management

Transport Department

    Mrs Lily YAM, JP,
    Commissioner for Transport
    Mr George LAI
    Government Engineer/PADS
Highways Department
    Mr C K MAK
    Chief Engineer/Railways
Item V
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Miss Nancy LAW, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mrs Jenny Wallis
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
    Mr LI Wing
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
    Ms Winnie LAU
    Principal Executive Officer/Resource Management
Planning, Environment and Lands Branch
    Mr Trevor Keen
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Transport Department
    Mrs Lily YAM, JP
    Commissioner for Transport
For Item VI
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Miss Nancy LAW, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Johnny CHAN
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
Transport Department
    Mrs Lily YAM, JP
    Commissioner for Transport
    Mr S C LEE, JP
    Assistant Commissioner for Transport
    Mr Anthony LOO
    Chief Engineer/Territory Transport Planning
Environmental Protection Department
Mr Raymond LEUNG
Ag Assistant Director (Air) For Item VII
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Isaac CHOW
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Miss Nancy LAW, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Allan CHOW
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
Transport Department
    Mrs Lily YAM, JP
    Commissioner for Transport
    Dr Ernest LEE, JP
    Assistant Commissioner for Transport
Legal Department
    Mr Royston Griffey
    Senior Assistant Law Draftsman
Clerk in attendance:
    Mrs Vivian KAM
Staff in attendance :
    Miss Pauline NG
    Assistant Secretary General 1
    Miss Connie FUNG
    Assistant Legal Adviser 3
    Mr Matthew LOO
    Senior Assistant Secretary (1)4

I Confirmation of minutes of previous meetings

(Paper No. CB(1) 252/96-97 - Minutes of the meeting on 11 July 1996)

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 1996 were confirmed.

II Date of next meeting and items for discussion

(List of outstanding items for discussion)

2. The Chairman invited members to note the agenda for the next series of meetings as set out in the list of outstanding items for discussions. In response to members on the need for allocating sufficient time for discussions, the Chairman advised that a total of 30 agenda items had been proposed by the Administration and members for discussion in the next six months and the frequency of meetings had accordingly been increased to twice a month. After deliberations, members agreed to adopt the following approaches:

  1. members could forward written questions to the Administration before the meetings to facilitate the incorporation of responses in the information papers;
  2. some proposals could, instead of being discussed at meetings, be circulated to members for their reference or comments as appropriate;
  3. agenda items of similar nature should be grouped for discussion; and
  4. questions raised at meetings should be as concise as possible.

III Information papers issued since last meeting


3. No information paper had been issued since the last meeting.

IV Staffing proposals for priority railway projects

(Paper No. CB(1) 249/96-97(01) - Information paper prepared by the Administration)

4. Before commencing discussion on this item, the Chairman commended the Administration for having provided all bi-lingual information papers for the meeting well before the meeting.

5. At the Chairman's invitation, Mr Paul LEUNG briefed the Panel on the staffing proposals for priority railway projects on the basis of presentation materials tabled at the meeting. The proposals would provide the necessary staffing resources for the Transport Branch, the Highways Department and the Transport Department to cope with the growing workload in planning for the implementation of the three railway projects recommended by the Railway Development Strategy (RDS).

6. The staffing proposals were as follows:-

Transport Branch

  1. to redeploy Deputy Secretary (Transport Management) (DS(TM)) as Deputy Secretary (Transport Infrastructure) (DS(TI)) to head a new Transport Infrastructure (TI) Division;
  2. to create one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade B (AOSGB) (D3), designated as DS(TM), to head the Transport Management Division;
  3. to create one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC) (D2), designated Principal Assistant Secretary (Transport) 7 (PAS(T)7), to provide additional support to DS(TI); and
  4. to create 11 non-directorate posts to provide support to PAS(T)4 and PAS(T)7.

The redeployment of the existing DS(TM) post and creation of the new posts of DS(TM) and PAS(T)7 would be for a period of five years up to 2001, subject to a review towards the end of this period.

Highways Department

  1. to create one supernumerary post of Chief Engineer (CE) (D1) in the Railway Development Office to head a new WCR Division (WRD);
  2. to redeploy two Senior Engineers and five Engineer posts from the Railway Division to the WRD; and
  3. to create five non-directorate posts in the WRD to provide adequate support in view of the complexity and volume of work involved.

Transport Department

  1. to create six non-directorate posts under the Port and Airport Development Branch.

(Post-meeting note : Presentation materials tabled at the meeting were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 294/96-97.)

7. Mr LEUNG said that sufficient provisions of about $12,280,000 had been included in the 1996-97 Estimates for these staffing proposals. He also advised that the proposals would be submitted to the Establishment Subcommittee of the Finance Committee for consideration at its meeting on 13 November 1996, subject to support from the Panel.

8. Mr Gordon SIU supplemented that the proposals focused mainly on staff resources improvement within the Transport Branch, the Highways Department and the Transport Department. He noted members' concern for such monitoring mechanisms as the Airport Authority for overseeing railway developments in Hong Kong, and emphasized that he would address these concerns and report further progress in due course.

9. Members agreed that the workload in planning for the implementation of the three priority railway projects had increased tremendously; some commented that the staffing proposals should have been submitted earlier to enable the Administration to monitor the development of projects. A member noted that the establishment of the Transport Management Division of the Transport Branch would be trimmed following the redeployment of DS(TM) as DS(TI) and expressed concern on the impact on traffic management as result of the change. In reply, Mr LEUNG explained that the Administration had hoped to be able to make use of existing resources for discharging its functions and would only submit staffing requests upon indications that existing staff complement were inadequate for coping with the increased workload. As regards the redeployment arrangement, Mr LEUNG advised that re-deployment of the post of DS(TM) as DS(TI) reflected the Administration's concerns on railway developments in Hong Kong, the major projects of which were the three priority projects which together would cost $100 billion. He assured members that DS(TM) would continue to assume responsibilities for all transport management matters and that the current proposals would not affect adversely the Branch's role in this respect.

10. Hon Mrs Selina CHOW sought clarification on the full annual average staff cost of $16,240,956 referred to in paragraph 20 of the information paper and the figure of $12,280,000 quoted by Mr LEUNG. In reply, Ms Winnie LAU said that the figure quoted by Mr LEUNG was the NAMS value, whereas the actual cost including salaries and staff on-costs, etc, was $16,240,956. In response to members, Mr LEUNG pointed out that details on the non-directorate posts had been provided in enclosures 3, 4 and 5 of the information paper.

11. Members enquired about the delineation of responsibilities between the Administration and the consultants and if the increase in staff resources would relieve the Administration's reliance on outside consultancy. In reply, Mr SIU explained that consultants would be commissioned if the Administration had no expertise in particular fields such as that on the design and alignment of railways. Consultants would not be appointed to perform the functions of the policy branch.

12. In addressing member's concern on how the proposed structure would tie in with other infrastructural planning and developments in Hong Kong, Mr SIU emphasized that the existing proposals focused mainly on railway developments. Other infrastructure would involve other policies branches and Government departments and these were outside the purview of the current staffing proposals. Nevertheless, he acknowledged members' concerns for co-ordination and assured that the Administration had long-term plans for co-ordinating efforts of relevant parties.

13. The Chairman concluded that the Panel had raised no objection to the staffing proposals, and that these were to be further considered by the Establishment Subcommittee.

V Railways Bill

(Paper No. CB(1) 249/96-97(02) - Information paper prepared by the Administration)

14. At the Chairman's invitation, Mrs Jenny Wallis briefed the Panel on the Railways Bill on the basis of presentation materials tabled at the meeting. The purpose of the Bill was to provide a legal framework with provisions for the preparation and publication of plans, objections, payment of compensation to persons whose interests were affected, resumption of land or strata, and creation of temporary and permanent easements and wayleaves for the implementation of new railway projects. The Bill was modelled mainly on the Roads Ordinance and had the following features:

  1. a proposed railway scheme and a notice of the deposit of the scheme would have to be prepared and published, and the Secretary for Transport could authorize the scheme if there was no objection. Any person might object to the proposed scheme by lodging a written notice to the Secretary for Transport within 60 days of the publication, and all objections were required to be considered by the Governor in Council who might decline to authorize the scheme, or authorize the scheme with or without modification;
  2. statutory powers to resume land, create easements, close roads, authorize reclamation and extinguish, conduct site inspections and surveys of private properties etc., would be available;
  3. rights to compensation that might flow from the carrying out of the authorized scheme were exhaustively and clearly set out; and
  4. improvements based on Lands Department's past experiences in dealing with road projects were introduced to strike a balance between speeding up the land resumption process without compromise to the rights of affected parties.

15. Mrs Wallis emphasized that the Bill would not empower any specific corporations in implementing railway schemes which had not been confirmed by the Administration. The respective legislation for these corporations would have to be amended separately to tailor for the requirements of different schemes. She said that the Administration aimed to enact the Ordinance in the first half of 1997.

(Post-meeting note : Presentation materials tabled at the meeting were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 294/96-97.)

16. Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin noted that reference to the rail link between Ma On Shan and Tai Wai, being one of the priority projects recommended in the Railway Development Strategy, had been omitted in the information paper. In reply, Mrs Wallis confirmed that provisions in the Bill would cover this priority rail link and explained that the projects quoted were only examples.

17. In view of the tight schedule of the Executive Council and the technical complexities of railway schemes, Hon Albert HO Chun-yan questioned if the Governor in Council was the appropriate party to consider the objections; he also sought clarification on the scope of the statutory authority given to the Secretary for Transport to correct minor discrepancies. Other members held the view that objectors should have the right for hearing as in the case of the Town Planning Board since projects such as the Western Corridor Railway with its extensive requirement for land resumption would have long-term impact on the development of Hong Kong. In reply, Mr Trevor Keen advised that it was a normal practice for the Governor in Council to deal with objections from the public to schemes proposed by the Administration and a Subcommittee had specifically been set up under the Council for the purpose. All objections should be lodged in writing and the Administration would first deal with these objections by, for example, meeting with the objectors to clarify their concerns. The representations would be tabled at the meeting of the Executive Council if the objections could not be resolved by the Administration. Under such arrangements, the Governor in Council would have regard to the views of all parties to arrive at an informed judgement, and the need for objectors to have the right for hearing as was possible under the Town Planning Ordinance which had a different mechanism, was considered unnecessary. As regards the scope of statutory authority to correct discrepancies by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Keen said that such corrections would only be limited to factual errors in the gazetted schemes but these would not override the private interests of any parties.

18. Some members commented that the Governor in Council would be inclined to side with the Administration and not deal with the objections fairly. They therefore advocated such open mechanism similar to that with the Town Planning Board to allow for public participation, and urged the Administration to consider this view.

19. Members were also concerned about the rights to compensation relating to land resumption, and enquired if compensation would be applicable also to resumption of areas which were underneath or above the ground level. Mr Keen said in response that such areas belonged to the owners and were in principle eligible for compensation. This had occurred in the resumption of land for constructing the Mass Transit Railway and Route 3, the amount of compensation being dependent on the effect which the resumption would have on services provided at the ground level. As regards compensation for farmland and graveyards, Mr Keen advised that this would be determined individually by reference to the facts of the particular case.

20. Hon NGAN Kam-chuen was concerned that affected parties might be out of town during the notice publication period and were unaware of the proposed resumption. He asked if measures were in place to ensure fair treatment for affected parties. In reply, Mr Keen advised that the publication period of 60 days was modelled on current legislation such as the Road Ordinance and no experience had been encountered so far. He also affirmed that late submissions for compensation could also be processed administratively on condition that sufficient evidence was provided.

21. In view of the importance of the proposed legislation in the implementation of the priority railway projects, the Chairman urged the Administration to introduce the Bill into the Legislative Council as soon as possible so that Members could have sufficient time to scrutinize the Bill. Mr SIU acknowledged the Chairman's request.

VI Third Comprehensive Transport Study

(Paper No. CB(1) 249/96-97(03) - Information note on population estimates and population projections) prepared by the Census and Statistics Department)

(Paper No. CB(1) 249/96-97(04) - Information paper prepared by the Administration)

22. Before inviting the Administration to brief the Panel on this subject, the Chairman reminded the Administration of the need to take into account the rapid population growth in Hong Kong and the transportation needs in its future transport studies and planning.

23. At the Chairman's invitation, Mr Johnny CHAN briefed the Panel on the Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS-3) on the basis of presentation materials tabled at the meeting. The purpose of the study was to update the major input assumptions used in the Updating of the Second Comprehensive Transport Study, in particular on the population scenarios of 7.5 million and 8.1 million in 2011 projected in the Territorial Development Strategy Review. An integrated and up-to-date transport strategy up to 2011 would then be formulated as a guide to future transport development for different areas of the territory. The scope of the study would comprise the five areas of highway development strategy, public transport development strategy, management measures and tolling strategy, cross-border traffic assessment, and environmental assessment. The estimated cost was $15.3 million and the study would commence in March/April 1997 upon approval of funds by the Finance Committee. The Administration would also consult the Transport Advisory Committee on 12 November 1996 on the scope of CTS-3. Upon completion of the study, the Administration would publish the recommendations in the form of a Green Paper on Transport Policy for public consultation and the Panel would also be duly consulted.

(Post-meeting note : Presentation materials tabled at the meeting were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 294/96-97.)

24. Members noted that in connection with the development of the Pearl River Delta and its close commercial and social relationship with Hong Kong, several cross-border road links had been proposed by the Chinese Government. They were concerned about the effect of these projects on the transportation system in Hong Kong and enquired if these projects would be taken into account in the CTS-3. They also expressed concern on whether consultants with extensive experience in the transportation system in China would be appointed to undertake the study. Mr S C LEE said in reply that issues on cross-border traffic were considered by the Roads and Bridges Panel set up under the Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee (ICC). A number of projects involving cross-border road links had been proposed and the Planning Department was making preparations for a feasibility study for incorporating such projects in order to access cross-border traffic demand. These projects would be taken into account in CTS-3. Mr SIU pointed out that the planning and implementation of cross-border transport services were co-ordinated by ICC and the Administration would make full use of this channel to discuss with the Chinese Government major infrastructure projects straddling the border. CTS-3 on the other hand had a different emphasis on collation of data and forward planning for transport policies.

25. Members were also concerned about the need to standardize transportation arrangements in China and Hong Kong such as left and right-hand driving. Mrs Lily YAM advised that Transport Department had recently re-examined the conclusions reached in an earlier study of the issue. The Department was of the view that practical problems, such as physical constraints in the design of roads, ramps and steering systems of vehicles in use would make it difficult to change the transportation system in Hong Kong to conform with that in China. However, where possible, the Department would also attempt to accommodate vehicles with left-hand drive in designing new roads.

26. Noting that CTS-3 was scheduled to commence in March/April 1997, members were worried that it would not be able to make use of the findings of the Territorial Development Strategy Review (TDSR) the consultation period for which would only end in December 1996. Hon CHAN Kam-lam suggested that the timing for the study should be deferred as he was concerned about too many assumptions being made and since some projects recommended in CTS-2 had still not been implemented. In reply, Mr CHAN and Mr LEE assured that there would be no wastage of resources nor duplication of work. An inter-departmental working group would be set up to ensure that CTS-3 was based on the most updated input and avoid overlapping with other on-going studies commissioned by the Administration. As the Planning Department would be consolidating feedback from the TDSR consultation exercise at the time of commencement of CTS-3 in March/April 1997 and input of data at about July 1997, timely reference to data from the TDSR would be possible. As regards the 12 projects recommended in previous studies including Route 7 and Route 16 which had not yet been implemented, Mr LEE said that an updated study was needed to provide updated information such as on population distribution to enable the Administration to reconsider these projects. Furthermore, the planning of major infrastructural developments such as the railway system and a number of studies undertaken by the Planning Department would also rely on the transport development strategy to be formulated in this study. Mr LEE undertook to provide members with a list of the 12 projects recommended in previous studies which were still under consideration by the Administration.Admin

27. Members noted that CTS-1 and CTS-2 each covered a planning period of about 15 years and were concerned that the planning horizons of CTS-3 up to 2011 might be inadequate to cope with the development of transport facilities in Hong Kong. They enquired about the experience overseas and the possibility of extending the planning horizon of CTS-3 for another five to ten years. In reply, Mr LEE advised that the planning horizons of similar studies in overseas countries were about 15 to 20 years. However, since the population forecast from the Territorial Development Strategy Review was only up to the year 2011, this had imposed a constraint on the study. Mr SIU recognized members' concern and undertook to ascertain the possibility of conducting further population projections beyond 2011. The information would be included in the Finance Committee paper when funds were requested for the consultancy study. Mrs YAM added that the Administration had included in the scope of CTS-3 advice on the feasibility of extending the planning period to 2016, and on conducting an updated study for CTS-3 similar to the CTS-2 Update.Admin

28. On the timeframe for completion of the study, Mr LEE said that CTS-3 would take 18 months to complete, as compared with 30 months for CTS-2. The proposed study would also be extended to cover a new assessment on environmental acceptance of the transport strategy. It would however not be practicable to further reduce the study required. As regards the comparison of consultancy fees between CTS-2 and CTS-3, the former costed $9 million at 1989 prices while the estimated cost for the proposed study was $15.3 million, of which $4.7 million was for environmental assessment.

29. In referring to paragraph 8 of the information paper on the tolling strategy for road crossings and tunnels, Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin enquired if the Administration would be applying the user-pays principle for tolls. Mr CHAN said that this was the Administration's objective in general. However, due regard would be given to other factors such as public acceptance, affordability and traffic management needs. In response to a member on the need for specifying different speed limits for different types of vehicles, Mr LEE advised that this was already the case in expressways such as the Tolo Highway where the speed limit for heavy lorries was 70 kilometers per hour irrespective of the limit for other types of vehicles.

VII Tsing Ma Control Area Bill

(LegCo Brief on the Tsing Ma Control Area Bill)

30. At the Chairman's invitation, Miss Nancy LAW briefed the Panel on the Tsing Ma Control Area Bill on the basis of presentation materials tabled at the meeting. The purpose of the Bill was to provide for the control and regulation of the traffic within, and management and operation of the control of, the Tsing Ma Control Area (TMCA). The contract for the management, operation, and maintenance (MOM) of the TMCA would be awarded to a private sector operator. The key provisions of the Bill were based upon the Road Tunnels (Government) Ordinance and the followings clauses were highlighted:

  1. the Secretary for Transport might give directions to the TMCA operator in respect of the management of the control area (Clause 10);
  2. the Governor-in-Council might by regulation provide for the imposition and collection of tolls for the use of the Lantau Link (Clause 27(1)(a)) as well as charges and fees (Clause 27(1)(b through f));
  3. the Governor-in-Council might approve the imposition of financial penalties on the operator by the Commissioner for Transport or by the Director of Highways for an amount not exceeding that specified in the Schedule if the operator failed to comply with the TMCA Ordinance or the MOM contract (Clause 28); and
  4. the initial operator of the TMCA would be paid a fixed monthly lump-sum management fee for performing its obligations under the MOM contract (Clause 31(3)).

31. Given the strategic importance of the TMCA as the only link to the new airport, the Administration would set up a Government Monitoring Team comprising representatives from the Transport Department, Highways Department, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, and Architectural Services Department to ensure the provision of an uninterrupted route. On the financial arrangements, it was anticipated that revenue would be insufficient to cover payments to the operator before the opening of the new airport. This issue would be addressed through an advance account arrangement whereby initial shortfalls in payments would be met by advances from the account, resulting in a debit balance. As traffic volume rose following the opening of the new airport, revenues from tolls, fees and charges should exceed remuneration and reimbursement to the operator. The surplus revenue would be used to clear the debit balance in the advance account which would then be closed, and all surplus amounts would be paid into the general revenue.

(Post-meeting note : Presentation materials tabled at the meeting were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 294/96-97.)

32. In order to enable the timely signing of the contract which would allow the contractor sufficient time to prepare for the opening of the TMCA in May 1997, Miss LAW said that the Ordinance should hopefully be enacted in December 1996. The Chairman advised that the Bill was number two on the Administration's priority list and, subject to endorsement by the House Committee, would likely be activated in the following week.

33. Members expressed concern about the difference in costs if the TMCA were to be managed by the Government and by a private operator. Miss LAW advised that the total operating costs would be reduced by about 10% if the management, operation and maintenance of the TMCA was contracted out. Dr Ernest LEE supplemented that when taking into account the various factors of staff costs for the Government Monitoring Team at $212 million for the initial four years, the difference in salaries and conditions of service between the public and the private sectors, expediency in recruitment, etc., the current proposal would achieve a savings of about 50% of the direct operating costs. As regards the composition of the Team, he undertook to provide the Panel with details of the grades, ranks and scope of responsibilities of the 72 staff members in the Team. In response to a member on the need for the seemingly large number of staff, Dr LEE said that this represented the minimum requirement as the TMCA encompassed one tunnel and four bridges on which maintenance as well as slope maintenance was involved. Dr LEE also confirmed that the posts were all non-directorate and submission of the staffing proposal to the Establishment Subcommittee would not be required.Admin

34. A member criticized the Administration for having made an administrative decision and not conducting any public consultation prior to the decision on the subject. He recalled that the Administration had at one time proposed to tender out the franchisee of TMCA publicly in order to recover the construction cost, but this option was withdrawn without due consultation. Dr LEE advised that the Administration had informed the Panel in June 1995 on the arrangements. At members' request, Mr SIU undertook to check the records and provide the Panel with the relevant information.Admin

35. Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin questioned if there would be an over-delegation of power to the Administration in deciding on the area boundaries and plans of the TMCA under Clause 6 of the Bill. Mr Royston Griffey affirmed in response to the Chairman that any changes of boundaries of TMCA would have to be tabled at the Legislative Council for approval in the form of a subsidiary legislation. The description of the original or any revised boundaries of the area would have to be published in the Gazette by way of a Notice.

36. Members were concerned about possible speeding in the TMCA and enquired about the capability of the operator in exercising proper control. Dr LEE advised that staff of the Government Monitoring Team would man a 24-hour emergency centre in the Transport Department's Headquarters which would monitor, through a closed circuit television system, traffic conditions in the TMCA. The Administration would also provide the necessary equipment such as speed radars to the operator in controlling traffic conditions. In addition, the Police would organize training courses for staff of the private operator to enhance their knowledge in this respect. As a related issue, members expressed their concern for an autotoll system in the TMCA compatible with those in use in other tunnels. Mr SIU took note of members' view.

37. The Chairman concluded that the Panel has raised no objection to the policy aspect of the Bill, and that the details would be examined by the relevant Bills Committee.

VIII Any other business

38. In reporting on the overseas study tour, the Chairman said that the House Committee had supported in principle an allocation of $200,000 for the study, and that tentatively two study tours would be organized. The Working Group would meet immediately after the Panel meeting to work out further details.

(Post-meeting note : There were only four Panel members agreed to participate in the visits and the Working Group deliberated in its meeting on 8 November 1996 that only one group to visit London, Paris, Hamburg and Singapore would be arranged.)

39. The meeting ended at 10:45 am.

Legislative Council Secretariat

16 December 1996

Last Updated on 22 August 1998