A committee in Hong Kong’s legislature with no effective opposition passed a HK$1.5 billion bill to fund the city’s mega bridge on Wednesday.

The Legislative Council’s Public Works Committee passed the additional funding support for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge after around an hour of debate.

Hong Kong Link Road of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. File Photo: GovHK.

The bridge, which officially opened to traffic in 2018, went over budget and faces insufficient traffic flow. The cost of the main bridge will be increased to around HK$10.5 billion following the approval of the funding, and the total amount paid will come to around HK$66 billion.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan admitted that the current income brought in by the bridge “could not even pay for the interest” on its loans, as the coronavirus pandemic had slashed the traffic flow of the bridge.

The legislature also agreed to pass the potential funding of another HK$330 million for a footbridge in Sham Shui Po, the sixth poorest district in Hong Kong, to the Public Works Committee for further discussion, following around 40 minutes of debate.

Last week, over HK$2 billion of government financial assistance was earmarked for Ocean Park theme park.

Shiu Ka-chun. Photo: Shiu Ka-chun, via Facebook.

Former legislator Shiu Ka-chun slammed the pro-establishment camp for their hasty approval of government proposals.

“They passed it so quickly that it is embarrassing for them,” Shiu told HKFP. “They tried to cut the Gordian knot after we resigned en masse, and returned to evil laws, such as amending the rules of procedure and approving the construction fund for Lantau Tomorrow, items that we used to go through meticulously.”

All Hong Kong democrats resigned from the Legislative Council en masse in November last year, after four pro-democracy lawmakers were disqualified by the government for allegedly endangering national security.

‘Bite the bullet’

Chief Executive Carrie Lam told Hong Kong people to “bite the bullet and carry on” in her regular press briefing on Tuesday, when she was asked about the economic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown imposed by the government.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam in a press briefing on January 26. Photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

“This pandemic has continued for almost a year, and there are many people, enterprises, and sectors impacted. The government had tried its best in rolling out relief measures on multiple occasions, but here comes the stage where we need to bite the bullet and carry on,” said Lam.

“Every person is paying a price, that’s why we need people to all work together to solve the issue.”

The government imposed a lockdown in Jordan on Saturday, and said that they would not compensate businesses affected in the area.

Shiu also criticised Lam for not supporting small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and said that the money that Lam was willing to spend showed where her priorities are.

Jordan lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

“I know Carrie Lam is a Catholic, and I’ll quote the bible to her: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” said Shiu.

Shiu told HKFP that small businesses that he had contact with were “suffocated,“ and that he hoped that the government could organise some sort of markets for them, along with monetary support.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.