As reported in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, budgets are being put in place that may soon provide a ferry service connecting Padang Bai with Bali's nearest island neighbor to the east Ė Nusa Penida.
Quoting the Vice Chairman of Commission "C" of Bali's Regional Parliament (DPRD), Wayan Sutena, the necessary Rp. 15 billion (approximately US$1.63 million) has been earmarked for the ferry project from Bali's 2005 budget.
Apparently two companies have already been asked to submit plans for the new build vessel, reportedly a ro-ro design of an estimated 500 Gross registered tons able to carry 10 cars and 500 people on a single voyage.
One of the companies said to have been requested to submit a ship proposal is the state-owned shipyard P.T. PAL in Surabaya.
It is hoped that an economical, regular ferry service will stimulate investment in Nusa Penida and reduce the cost of living for the people resident in the island.
Other major projects allocated funds for capital imporvement in 2005 for Bali include the completion of the Tohpati - Kusamba road (US$2.58 million); and the completion of the Tukad Bangkung Pelaga bridge in Badung (US$1.19 million).
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