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Cross-border Bridge Plan to Be Finalized
Details on the plan of constructing a cross-border bridge linking the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Guangdong Province are expected to be finalized in a few months.

Sarah Liao, HKSAR secretary for the environment, transport and works, revealed the progress of discussion to HKSAR Legislative Councilors during the weekly council meeting Wednesday.

Liao said concrete arrangements are being made to finalize the details in a few months, though she did not specify how many.

"The HKSAR government needs to coordinate with Guangdong provincial government, as well as the State Development and Planning Commission, when examining the plan, so the policy doesn't just involve the HKSAR, but different sides across the border," Liao said.

She stressed that whatever the plan, the bridge will be planned in a way that promotes economic exchange between the HKSAR and the mainland.

"Various proposals made by the public in Hong Kong and the government are being considered. All have merits and demerits, but all are with a view to promoting economic development of Hong Kong.

"From the perspective of strategic development, the construction of a land transport link between Hong Kong and the Western bank of the Pearl River will further enhance the integration of the two economies, and strengthen the role of Hong Kong as a regional economic and transport hub," she said.

The HKSAR government will also look into certain policy principles such as whether to adopt the build-operate-transfer approach, how to draw up a toll mechanism, and the construction of supporting infrastructures, so that interested parties can conduct further studies on the feasibility of the project, she said.

"The government will undoubtedly uphold its principle of fairness, justice and openness in handling this project," she added.

Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung stated at the end of August that, in the long run, it was essential to construct a bridge to connect Hong Kong and the western part of the Pearl River Delta.

(People's Daily October 17, 2002)

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