Proposed HK-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge Link (Nov 2002)
The Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP) would like to comment on the recently announced major infrastructure project proposal to build the Hong Kong – Macau – Zhuhai Bridge Link (the Bridge).
The HKIP strongly urges the Government to enhance the socio-economic linkages between Hong Kong and other cities in the Pearl River Delta. The Pearl River Delta (PRD) has become one of the regions that drive the dramatic economic growth of the country over the last decade. Hong Kong must capitalize on her strategic position as a major commerce and logistic hub in the PRD by fully integrating her economic linkages with the region.
The proposed bridge link (Hong Kong – Macau – Zhuhai) with the western part of the delta would contribute positively to the overall economic competitiveness of Hong Kong in general, and enhance the leading position of Hong Kong to become a logistics hub for Southern China. Hong Kong needs to invest on its strategic infrastructure to strengthen its position as the logistics hub of Asia.
We understand that the Government is currently studying the feasibility of this bridge link.
The HKIP would like to highlight several key issues associated with this proposal for consideration by the Hong Kong SAR Government:
The proposed bridge link has highlighted the challenges to formulate regional planning initiatives in the PRD through an effective inter-governmental mechanism. The bridge link will physically link up two "Special Administrative Regions" (Hong Kong and Macau), one "Special Economic Zone" (Zhuhai), and will involve also the governments of the Guangdong province as well as the Central Government in Beijing. The final decisions and design of the bridge link will inevitably involve all the relevant agencies. We would recommend the Hong Kong SAR Government to make use of this project to promote the setting up of an effective institutional mechanism (such as a regional planning agency or organization with specific mandate) to plan and coordinate regional planning, environment and infrastructure matters in the Greater PRD which includes Hong Kong and Macau.
The planning and design of this bridge link should be evaluated fully subject to a sound environmental impact assessment process to minimize its negative effects on the environment. As part of the feasibility study, the economic benefits to Hong Kong should be fully assessed.
The financial arrangements as well as the implementation mechanism (government led project, private sector led project, or public-private partnership) for the bridge link are key policy issues. The HKIP believes that the implementation and business models can take a variety of approaches. The Government could consider private-public sector partnership and other creative financing approach to finance the project. The project development and any tendering process should be open and transparent.