Talks Heat Up On Proposed Bridge Over Sunda Strait
ID/Wahyu Sudoyo & Trimurti
The government is planning to set up a team of ministers to discuss a proposal by the Finance Ministry to separate the feasibility study for the Rp 100 trillion ($10.6 billion) Sunda Strait Bridge and for the strategic zones at both ends.
“Regarding the proposal of the finance minister, a plenary of the council has decided to form a team directly composed of ministers,” said Hatta Rajasa, the top economy minister who also heads the Supervisory Council for the Sunda Strait Bridge Project. The bridge would connect Java and Sumatra islands.
Speaking after a meeting on Wednesday, Hatta said the team would be composed of seven ministers — those for public works, finance, justice and human rights, industry and national development planning, as well as the cabinet secretary and state secretary.
The team will discuss the proposal to separate the feasibility study for the bridge and for the strategic zones at both ends, as well as the financing for the study.
“The first thing is that it would be better, it is true, to separate the development of the zones and the construction of the bridge,” Hatta said. “The second thing is the proposal that the feasibility study be financed with money from the state budget and be tendered.”
He said that initially, the government did not want the feasibility study to be financed by the state. The team of ministers, he said, will work for two weeks to discuss these issues as well as other matters related to the project.
“We all want the same thing, which is accountability and transparency, and to maximize relations between the central government, regional governments and the private sector,” Hatta said.
But he said it was urgent for all the issues to be settled so the construction of the bridge could start as planned in 2014. “The Sunda Strait Bridge is very strategic, not only to link the two islands but also for the entire Indonesian economy,” he said. “We are determined and remain consistent and will do our best to break ground in 2014.”
The bridge would link 80 percent of Indonesia’s 240 million people by road and rail, and would take some 10 years to complete. The world’s largest ships would be able to pass under it, as the bridge would stand 80 meters at its highest.