LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL PANEL ON TRANSPORT
Staffing proposals for priority railway projects
The Transport Branch (TB), Highways Department (HyD) and Transport Department (TD) need additional staff resources for planning the implementation of the three priority railway projects recommended by the Railway Development Strategy (RDS). These projects are the Western Corridor Railway (WCR), the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Tseung Kwan O extension (TKE), and the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai rail link/Kowloon Canton Railway extension from Hung Hom to Tsimshatsui (MOS/KCRE).
Transport Branch (TB)
2. TB has two Deputy Secretary (DS) posts. The senior deputy, DS(Transport Management) (DS(TM)), ranked at D4, is responsible for all policy matters on transport management and infrastructure, including railways, and resource management. He is assisted by two Principal Assistant Secretaries (PAS) (AOSGC) (D2) on transport Planning and infrastructure matters, two PASs on transport management matters, and a Principal Executive Officer on resource management.
3. The other DS, an AOSGB (D3) is responsible for policies on public transport services. He is assisted by two PASs and a Chief Inspecting Officer (Railway) (D1). The existing organisation chart of TB is at Enclosure 1.
4. Workload in planning the implementation of the three railway projects has grown beyond the capacity of DS(TM)s establishment. On the WCR and TKE, we are taking forward the proposals from the two Corporations through steering committees, working groups and task groups. We have to examine and resolve interface and land issues, and introduce a Railways Bill to facilitate land resumption and engineering works for future railways. On MOS/KCRE, a large volume of working papers produced by the engineering feasibility study need to be scrutinised. Upon completion of the engineering feasibility study, the financial consultants appointed by Government will appraise the findings of the study, assess the financial viability and investigate the appropriate institutional arrangement for implementing the project. Their work will need to be supervised and monitored.
5. To enhance project transparency, we will need to brief the Chinese side, the Transport Panel of LegCo, the Transport Advisory Committee, District Boards and other concerned parties on a regular basis. We are also involved in the work of a special working group set up under the Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee (ICC) to facilitate discussions between Government and the Chinese authorities on cross-border infrastructure.
6. DS(TM) is under intense work pressure to press ahead with the planning of the implementation of the railways projects, and to attend to other equally pressing responsibilities in transport management matters. The major transport management matters include the Electronic Road Pricing project, the implementation of the recommendations of the Parking Demand Study and Freight Transport Study, the enactment of the Tsing Ma Control Area (TMCA) Bill and contracting out of the management, operation and maintenance of the TMCA, the improvement of transport safety, and the operation of territory wide bus-only-lanes.
7. The two PASs under DS(TM) are already fully occupied and have no spare capacity. The PAS (designated PAS(T)4) originally responsible for the planning and implementation of the priority railway projects and servicing the ICC cannot cope with the additional workload described in paragraphs 4 and 5 above. Neither can the other PAS responsible for the planning and implementation of road projects absorb any additional workload.
8. As a temporary measure to cope with the increasing workload, we created one supernumerary AOSGB (D3) post in TB for six months from 18 June 1996 to oversee the feasibility studies on the Electronic Road Pricing proposal and territory-wide bus-only-lanes, the Parking Demand Study and Freight Transport Study, the contracting out of the Tsing Ma Control Area, and the formulation of policies on traffic management and transport links with China.
9. We further created a supernumerary post of AOSGC (D2) in TB for six months from 12 August 1996 to attend to the pressing issues related to the MTRCs proposals for TKE, including the examination of the technical proposals, addressing urgent interface issues, and assisting in briefing and consultations exercises.
Highways Department (HyD)
10. The existing Railway Development Office (RDO) of HyD, headed by a Government Engineer/Railway Development (GE/RD) (D2), is responsible for all railway development matters. The RDO has two divisions, the Railway Division (RD) an the Airport Railway Division (ARD). The RD is responsible for planning and co-ordinating the implementation of the priority railway projects and matters related to the RDS. The ARD oversees the planning, co-ordination and commissioning of the Airport Railway (AR). The existing organisation chart of the RDO is at Enclosure 2.
11. The workload of the Chief Engineer/Railway (CE/R) who heads the RD has increased tremendously as the three priority projects advance. In recent months, the WCR alone has kept him fully occupied. Apart from overseeing the technical aspects of the railway projects and resolving interface problems, CE/R also has to provide technical support to TB in public briefings and consultations, and to attend to all other related matters, including the updating of the RDS.
12. The Chief Engineer/Airport Railway (CE/AR) is fully occupied with the resolution of interface problems between the AR and other ACP projects, and major traffic diversions in Central, so as to ensure timely completion of the AR. He has no spare capacity to take up additional responsibility.
Transport Department (TD)
13. TD needs to provide substantial traffic and transport input to the planning and implementation of the three railway projects, because of the significant impact these projects will have on areas along the railway alignments during and after construction. TD will have to scrutinise the railway proposals to ensure the capacity will meet forecast demands, advise on the locations of stations and public transport interchanges, and assess traffic implications of developments associated with the railway projects.
14. At present, the Assistant Commissioner for Transport/Technical Services and Planning co-ordinates preparatory work related to the three railway projects at the steering committee level, with assistance from a Chief Engineer. Senior Engineers from Regional Traffic Engineering Divisions co-ordinate work at the project working group level, on a part-time, temporary basis, in addition to their own duties in district traffic management and engineering matters. This arrangement will not be able to cope with increasing workload as the railway projects advance.
15. The present staffing situation in TB, HyD and TD is not adequate to cope with the increasing workload generated by the three railway projects. In order not to cause delays to these projects and to other pressing tasks, we propose the following for TB -
- redeploy DS(TM) to head a new Transport Infrastructure (TI) Division to be responsible for formulating policies and planning of all transport infrastructure, including the planning of the implementation of the three priority railway projects. Re-designated as DS(TI), he will continue to oversee resource management under the policy area of Transport;
- create one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade B (AOSGB) (D3) in TB to head the Transport Management Division. This post will be designated DS(TM) and will take over from the existing DS(TM) responsibilities on all transport management matters;
- create one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC) (D2) to provide additional support to DS(TI). Designated PAS(T)7, the post will relieve PAS(T)4 of the responsibility for all matters relating to the TKE and the MOS/KCRE, and for administering the financial consultancy on all three railway projects. PAS(T)4 will henceforth be responsible for the WCR, review of the RDS and for servicing the working group under the ICC; and
- increase the notional annual mid-point salary (NAMS) ceiling in 1996-97 from $20,104,000 by $4,543,920 to $24,647,920 for the creation of 11 non-directorate posts to provide support to PAS(T)4 and PAS(T)7.
16. We propose to redeploy the existing DS(TM) post and to create the new DS(TM) and PAS(T)7 for a period of five years up to 2001, subject to review towards the end of this period. The redeployment will cease upon deletion of the proposed DS(TM) post. The proposed organisation chart of TB is at Enclosure 3.
17. For HyD, we propose to
- create one supernumerary post of Chief Engineer (CE) (D1) in the RDO to head a new WCR Division (WCD). The post, designated CE/WCR will be responsible for all matters relating to the WCR project. The existing CE/R will be responsible for the TKE and MOS/KCRE, and the planning of other longer term railway projects;
- redeploy two Senior Engineer and five Engineer posts from the RD to the WRD; and
- increase the NAMS ceiling from $477,695,000 by $1,422,540 to $479,117,540 for the creation of five additional non-directorate staff in the WRD to provide adequate support in view of the complexity and volume of work involved.
18. The proposed organisation chart for the RDO is at Enclosure 4.
19. For TD, we propose to increase the NAMS ceiling from $332,189,000 by $2,771,370 to $334,960,370 for the creation of a new Railway Development Section with six non-directorate staff under the Port and Airport Development Branch of the department, as shown in Enclosure 5.
20. The additional notional annual salary cost at mid-point for the proposed directorate posts is $3,549,600. The corresponding full annual average staff cost, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $6,846,804. The notional annual salary cost at mid-point is $8,737,830 for the 22 additional non-directorate posts, and the full annual average staff cost is $16,240,956.
21. We have included sufficient provision in the 1996-97 Estimates for our proposals.
22. Subject to Members support of our proposals, we intend to submit these to the Establishment Subcommittee of Finance Committee for consideration at its meeting on 13 November 1996.
23. We will delete the two supernumerary posts referred to in paragraphs 8 and 9 above upon Finance Committees approval of the creation of the proposed DS(TM) and PAS(T)7 posts.
Last Updated on 21 August 1998