Sunda Strait Bridge Gets Japanese Support
Japan wants to help Indonesia develop a bridge linking Java and Sumatra, the country’s two most populous islands, as the Finance Ministry plans to take over the feasibility study from the private sector.
Naoyoshi Sato, Japan’s deputy minister for land, infrastructure, transportation and tourism, said the Japanese government had heard about the 30-kilometer Sunda Strait Bridge (JSS) and expressed interest in getting involved in the project.
“We will provide sea-bridge experts, as requested by the Public Work Ministry, but only for a short time,” Sato said, as quoted in a statement from the ministry. “Currently, we cannot commit such help in the long run.”
Sato’s comments came after Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said the government wanted to assume responsibility for the bridge’s feasibility study because it would have to bear the costs if the results were not as expected.
“A third party could easily say they spent Rp 1 trillion [$105 million] and demand that the government compensate it; this could pose a risk in the future,” Agus said on Friday.
The feasibility study, he said, will cover construction, funding, legal issues and land availability.
Graha Banten Lampung Sejahtera, a business consortium led by tycoon Tomy Winata, was earlier recognized as the project initiator and awarded the feasibility study. After the study, it would have the right to bid 10 percent higher than the lowest bid for the project.
The government would also cover the expenses if the project failed.
Hermanto Dardak, the deputy minister at the Public Works Ministry, said on Sunday that the ministry was working with the local governments of South Sumatra and Banten on a pre-feasibility study covering the bridge construction and development of the surrounding areas.
The government also signed a deal to invest in the Rp 100 trillion Sunda Strait Bridge with China Railway Construction during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit to Beijing in March.
The bridge would be Indonesia’s longest bridge, linking 80 percent of the country’s 240 million population by road and rail. Construction could start as soon as 2014 and take about 10 years to complete.
The government is revising a presidential regulation issued last year on the development of the bridge and the surrounding area. Agus said clauses on the feasibility study would be among those amended.
Investor Daily, JG