Today, Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of China’s latest mega-infrastructure project.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, stretching 55 kilometres over the Pearl River Delta in Southern China, is set to cut commute times between the three main destinations by up to 75%.
The opening of the “mega-bridge” comes as a shock to some transportation companies that anticipated more time to adjust to the shifts in traffic flow. More importantly, the long-term social and economic impacts of the bridge will play out in each port city’s economies. Local transit departments can expect fewer vehicles to be stationed in each city, leaving the bridge itself to gain the most revenue from the historic change.
Expect discontented Hongkongers—particularly those on the transit panel—to push back on the lack of transparency and control over the operation through demanding reparation payments for Hong Kong’s losses, such as the death of over 20 workers throughout construction. As Hong Kong footed nearly 60% of the project’s cost through taxes, expect civil society groups to fight to ensure that Hong Kong will at least break even from the revenue the bridge generates in China’s latest foothold in the city’s economy.
Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.