Monday, April 11, 2011

Bali Railway on Track for 2014


A proposed railway line circuiting the Bali coast and intended to help relieve the island’s chronic traffic congestion may be operational by 2014, a government minister has claimed.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said he hoped around half of the planned 560-kilometre line would be completed by the end of the current government’s term in 2014.

“If possible, at least half of the round-Bali railway ought to be finished by 2014. By the end of the current government half the line will be laid; the circle will be halfway complete,” Wacik told reporters.

The project for the line, which will run around the island and cost an estimated Rp7 trillion (US$810 million), is still at consultation stage, Wacik said.

“At the moment surveys and feasibility studies are being done by consultants from the Indonesian Railway Company (PT Kereta Api Indonesia).  But within the next three months they will release the plan, complete with the grand design and the budget projections,” he said, adding that both local and foreign investors were being sought to fund the project.

“For the full line around Bali, including the stations, the estimated cost is around Rp7 trillion. There are lots of private and foreign investors who are keen to get involved in this 560-kilometre rail project,” Wacik said.

Wacik said that the railway line was essential for Bali’s continued prosperity and future development.

“The political will is there because the south of Bali is full of hotels, residents and tourists. Also, the airport is too small, while the number of tourist arrivals is increasing. This railway will bring equality to the regions of Bali. It will bring a new tourist economy to the north of the island so that north and south Bali can both live,” he said, adding that special tourism packages would be developed around the railway.

“It will make it easier to deal with the foreign tourists who come to Indonesia, most of whom arrive in Bali,” he said.

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