National Development Planning Minister and National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) head Bambang Brodjonegoro has said that traffic congestion costs the capital US$5 billion annually, as kompas.com reported on Thursday.
“Economic losses due to traffic jams cost $5 billion annually,” Bambang said on Thursday in Depok, West Java, adding that the major cause of congestion was limited roadway capacity, which could not accommodate the increasing number of vehicles in the capital.
He also blamed the sluggish development of public transportation infrastructure, like the MRT and LRT projects.Read also: Easing traffic through a smarter system
He said the MRT feasibility study had been available in the 1990s, but that the government had failed to realize the project, arguing that it was financially unfeasible.
“We are 30 years late in building the MRT. We considered the project unfeasible financially, because we only thought about value and investment and revenues from the project,” said Bambang.
The MRT project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, also required economic considerations, he added, particularly in terms of losses from traffic jams – losses incurred as a result of longer travel times and greater fuel consumption.
The government is now working on the first phase of the MRT project, which runs from Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta. The second phase of the project will extend the route completed during the first phase to Kampung Bandan in North Jakarta. (bbn)