Airport railway ‘to operate
in 2014’

Despite land acquisition delays, the government is upbeat a railway connecting Manggarai train station and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport would open on schedule in 2014, a senior transportation official said.

Asril Syafei, the director of railway traffic and transportation at the Transportation Ministry, said in Jakarta on Thursday that a number of foreign and local companies had expressed their interest in taking part in a tender for the project that would be held later this year.

The companies include China Harbour Engineering, Japan’s Mitsui and state railway operator PT KAI’s Railink.

“We will process their bids and finalize the tender this year. There will probably be other investors,” he said, adding he was optimistic that physical construction would start next year.

He said the 33-kilometer line, which would link the airport to Manggarai train station in South Jakarta, would cost about Rp 10 trillion (US$1.13 billion) to build. This is part of several infrastructure projects on offer to the private sector under a public private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Of the project’s total cost, Rp 6.8 trillion is expected to come from private sector investors and the rest from the state budget.

“Both the government and private sector will share in the project because it is under the PPP scheme,” Asril said on the sidelines of an infrastructure railway seminar at the Nikko Hotel in Central Jakarta.

The land clearance for the project got off to a slow start and is expected to be completed this year instead of last year as planned. However, the government remains upbeat it would be able to start the project in 2012 and complete it in 2014 as originally planned.

“The land acquisition was supposed to be completed last year, but the budget was allocated for 2011 so now we are currently processing the administration details for the funding,” Asril said, adding that the government would allocate Rp 1.5 trillion for land acquisition and Rp 1.7 trillion for physical construction from Manggarai to Angke.

Transportation Ministry official Bambang Susantono said the track would run 33 kilometers, passing through Manggarai, Dukuh Atas in Sudirman, Tanah Abang, Angke, Pluit and the airport toll road all the way to the airport.

“The new track will run parallel to the existing Jakarta-Tangerang line, but will be double tracked,” Bambang said at the same event, adding that the land clearance should not be a problem because most of the land for the project would be used for the railway line.

Bambang said the cost of the project shot to Rp 10 trillion from the original estimate of Rp 4 trillion due to several changes, including the double-track line instead of the single track that was to overlap with the existing railway line, and possible construction of malls to cater to passengers.

“With an urban rail project, property developers receive more benefits than the train operators. That’s why the estimate for the investment increased, because if we were to build malls underneath the railway it would be expensive,” he added

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