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City told to focus on monorail, not turnpike JAKARTA - With the government issuing a letter guaranteeing its support for the monorail project, activists and experts called on the city administration Friday to focus on the project rather than a plan to build six inner city turnpikes. Tubagus Haryo Karbyanto of the Jakarta Environment Caucus said the support from the central government meant the administration needed to prioritize the construction of secure and comfortable mass transportation rather than building turnpikes, which would only worsen Jakarta's traffic conditions.

"As far as I have observed, the administration is still confused in its direction to solve the city's congestion," Tubagus said. "Once the administration proposed an integrated public transportation system to lure car owners to mass transportation and leave their cars at home, but currently it is also proposing constructing turnpikes, which will eventually only accommodate car owners," he added. He said the government's decision to issue the guarantee for the project was clear sign to the administration that it needed to take the monorail seriously as it was meant to serve a greater good.

On Wednesday, the government and local administration agreed to guarantee the monorail project on a fifty-fifty basis, with money to be drawn from the national budget and city reserve funds in the case of the operator failing to meet the minimum passenger target of 160,000 per day. "The decision encourages the administration to make sure the project materializes because the government is taking a risk and it will involve the people's money," Tubagus said. He said a good solution to the city's congestion would be providing secure and comfortable public transportation and not by building turnpikes.

Currently, the number of vehicles in Jakarta is growing by 10 percent per year, while street area grows by only one percent. Tubagus said this meant that it would be impossible for six turnpikes to be a reasonable answer to the city's traffic jams. The Jakarta Police recorded at least 1.6 million cars operating in the city last year, while 300 to 400 new motor vehicle licenses are issued every day.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Transportation Board chairman Soetanto Soehondo said it was important that the government prioritized the construction of an integrated transportation system that would include the monorail, because such a system would be in line with the city's Macro Transportation Pattern plan, which focused on the procurement of safe and comfortable public transportation. "Turnpikes would only focus on several classes of society, and ... the government cannot stop the car population here from growing," Soetanto said.

In the plan, the turnpikes will link Bekasi-Kalimalang-Kampung Melayu; Ulujami-Tanah Abang; Kampung Melayu-Tomang; Pasar Minggu-Casablanca; Kemayoran-Kampung Melayu and Sunter-Pulo Gebang. The 85 kilometers of road would cost Rp 23 trillion (about US$2.5 billion), much more than the monorail project's $650 million.

Jakarta Council member Sayogo Hendrosubroto said the administration needed to review its agreement contract with JM Monorail, the company in charge of the monorail project's construction, before seeking the Council's approval of the use of the administration's reserve funds. "It would be better if JM took the initiative to amend the contract to say that the central government and the city administration will share the responsibility for guaranteeing the project as well as the possibility of some side income being added to the city's budget," said Sayogo, also chairman of commission D overseeing development.



Posted in General @ 23 August 2006 04:42 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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