President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is committed to completing the Trans-Sumatra toll road by 2024.
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MESUJI, KOMPAS — President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is committed to completing the Trans-Sumatra toll road by 2024. The construction of the 2,974-kilometer toll road spanning from Lampung to Aceh is believed to be able to spur economic growth in Sumatra and even in Indonesia.
The President reaffirmed his commitment during the inauguration of the Terbanggi Besar-Pematang Panggang-Kayu Agung segment of the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road (JTTS) at the Simpang Pematang Toll Gate in Mesuji regency, Lampung, on Friday (15/11/2019).
“The segment is 189 kilometers long. It is the longest [segment] I have ever inaugurated and we hope that construction will continue from Kayu Agung to Palembang and then to Betung in Banyuasin,” President Jokowi said in his speech.
The toll road will be open to the public this Saturday (16/11). For the first month, it will be free of charge.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show that Sumatra’s regional gross domestic product grew 4.49 percent in the third quarter of 2019. Sumatra contributed 21.14 percent to national economic growth.
Toll road development in several regions in Indonesia, the President said, was part of the government’s effort to implement Pancasila’s fifth principle of Social Justice for All Indonesians. The government is also committed to building toll roads in Kalimantan and Sulawesi in parallel with budgeting innovations that will not put a burden on the state budget.
The President said the toll road’s presence would also stimulate the economy, generating new economic hubs, improving the logistics network, facilitating the transportation of various products in Sumatra and creating jobs.
The President also urged local governments to optimize the toll road’s presence so that it could boost the local economy. Toll roads will have to be connected to economic zones, such as tourist sites, production hubs, plantations, agricultural fields and industrial centers. “This is the task of governors, regents and mayors,” the President said.
Public Works and Housing Ministry data shows that the 2,974-kilometer JTTS from Lampung to Aceh comprises 2,046 kilometers of main corridor and 928 kilometers of supporting corridor. Five segments spanning 280 kilometers are in operation.
Core Indonesia executive director Mohammad Faisal said that, reflecting on the Trans-Java Toll Road experience, the JTTS would have to be optimized. New industrial hubs based on farming products in Lampung and South Sumatra would have to be created. “New industry hubs, once established, will be more competitive thanks to the availability of access,” he said.
The government and toll road operators need to involve more micro, small and medium enterprises. They can be given spaces in toll road service and rest areas.
Sumatra Institute of Technology’s regions and infrastructure technology department head Rahayu Sulistyorini said that the toll road’s presence should boost the provincial and regency governments’ efforts to develop their regions. Apart from boosting logistics access, the toll road would also support the use of buses.
However, Rahayu said the government should also ensure safety at the toll road. Apart from accelerating the construction of toll road rest areas, road signs and lighting must also be added. The government must also map the accident-prone spots on the toll road.
Indonesian Logistics and Forwarders Association’s (ALFI) Lampung branch deputy head Ade Rahmatullah said that the toll road would boost efficiency by helping truck drivers cut down their travel time. (LAS/VIO/RAM/NAD)