CELIOS Criticize High-Speed Rail Project; Notes Jokowi's Initial Promise In 2016

14 October 2021 10:31 WIB

Workers begin to install steel rails for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train with the construction background of the Tegalluar Station, Bojongsoang District, Bandung Regency, Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The government will cover the project budget costs from the APBN to speed up the operating deadline by the end of 2022. TEMPO/Prima Mulia

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The growing construction cost of the Jakarta - Bandung high-speed rail project along with the government’s decision to extract funds from the State Budget (APBN) to help finance its construction has grabbed the attention of the public.  

Not only has the cost of the mega-project risen, but it has also failed to meet the initial deadline that was planned to be completed in 2019 and cost Rp86,5 trillion. However, the project is currently still ongoing with costs rising to Rp114,24 trillion.

Center of Economic and Law Studies (CELIOS) director Bhima Yudhistira on Wednesday to Bisnis.com said based on his calculation the added Rp27.7 trillion State Budget used to fund the construction can be used to add other government programs with arguably broader impact such as the wage subsidies and cash-aid for 45 million people with each given Rp600,000.

Moreover, if the additional funds are directed to other infrastructure developments it could at a minimum resurface 13,500 kilometers of public roads outside of the Java Island. It can even fund four traditional railway projects in Sulawesi, he said. 

He further argues that the high speed rail project will directly or indirectly end up burdening the government’s debt situation.

Five years ago in 2016, President Jokowi in record stated that the high-speed rail project must not use funds sourced from the State Budget and insists that SB funds are better used to build infrastructure outside of the Java Island. 

“If the State Budget is used again, people would ask me when is the time for regions outside of Java? When is Papua’s turn? People always ask me that,” said the President at the time. 

Read: High-Speed Rail Project Utilizing State Budget Deemed A Burden by MPR

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