Indonesian President Joko Widodo has planned infrastructure construction in various sectors since the start of his period. However, as stated by Director of Civil Society Circle (LIMA), Ray Rangkuti, “We admit there is progress, but there is no definite direction.”
The NGO’s representative pointed out the high speed train network project as an example. The construction, in his opinion, seems like a show off to the people that the government wants to catch up in improving transportation infrastructure.
The government argued they are prioritizing infrastructure development due to its vital role in moving local economy as the intensity of commodity-people-money flow increase and contribute in distributing and stabilizing prices.
On the other hand, Director of Centre for Indonesian Political Studies, Hailuki, reminded the government to be careful not to invest too much in mega infrastructure projects as they need to support other sectors too, especially since the national economy is still unstable enough not to be affected by current volatility of the global economy.
Currently there are several mega-infrastructure projects that are already undergoing construction in Indonesia. Among these projects include the Trans Sumatra Freeway, the Kertajati Airport and the Kuala Tanjung Seaport. Here is a quick review of the projects.
On Land: Trans Sumatra Freeway
The road construction will be 2.600 km long and spend IDR 150 trillion or around US $11.25 billion. The project has 23 rows connecting Serang in Banten to economically strategic cities in Sumatra: Banda Aceh, Medan, Pekanbaru, Jambi, Palembang, Tanjung Pinang, Lampung, and Bengkulu.
Six rows are being constructed and the freeway is targeted to start operating in 2019. Representative of the project’s officials, Herry Trisaputra Suna, elaborated, “Generally the development is progressing. The construction process is parallel with the process for freeing land, which has been accelerated.”
For the Air: Kertajati Airport
The construction of the international airport, which is planned to have a capacity for 5.6 million passengers annually, is categorized into two sections: the air side and the land side. The central government spends IDR 1 trillion or around USD 72.4 million for the air side, while another IDR 2.1 trillion (USD 153 million) is dedicated for the airport’s 1,800 hectares of land.
Whilst targeted to be finished by 2016, the project, which started in 2013, is predicted to be done in 2017. Representative of the Ministry of Transportation, Barata has said that “As has been planned in phase one part one of the development, currently Kertajati Airport has a runway sized 2,500 x 60 meter.”
On Sea Connection: Kuala Tanjung Seaport
An artist’s impression of the Port of Kuala Tanjung. (Photo source: pelindo1.co.id)
Located in Indonesia’s North Sumatra, Kuala Tanjung Seaport is part of the “sea freeway,” a vision of President Joko Widodo. It is predicted to be finished by the end of 2016 as it has reached 41 percent of construction completion.
Representative of the project’s officials, Bambang Eka Cahyana, admitted that it has been progressing quite fast since the groundbreaking on 27th January 2015. IDR 34 trillion will be spent by the time the project is completed.
Having the Port of Rotterdam as a role model, the Kuala Tanjung Seaport will also be supported with land based infrastructure such as access to freeway, railroad and gas-fueled power supply.