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Exco gives green light for Airport Authority to seek funding for third runway

The Executive Council on Tuesday gave airport officials the green light to seek funds and build a HK$141.5 billion third airport runway, despite widespread opposition from activists and environmental groups.

Taxpayers are to be spared any expense, with funding to come internally through the Airport Authority’s own “healthy” surpluses, airport charges for visitors and carriers, and external financing through bonds.

The airport will also forfeit annual dividends to the government – the authority’s biggest shareholder.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the airport was fast reaching maximum capacity and the third runway was needed to maintain the city’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Cheung said carrier charges at Chek Lap Kok were among the lowest in the world and there was room to raise them further.

Airport Authority chief Fred Lam Tin-fuk said the funding proposal was the fairest and most appropriate method based on a “user pays” principle.

He did not answer directly whether the financing plan was designed to bypass the Legislative Council finance committee. “We don’t think it is fair to make taxpayers pay for other visitors,” he said.

Source URL (modified on Mar 17th 2015, 8:01pm):

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