The provincial government of Bali remains committed in its desire to build a rail system as a means of spreading the benefits of tourism development more evenly to all corners of the island.
Moreover, Bali’s leaders see a rail system as a means of overcoming the growing problem of traffic congestion on the provinces’ roadways.
But, despite the popularity of the idea of a Bali Rail System, a feasibility study conducted by PT Kereta Api Indonesia (the State-owned Railway) doubts the viability of the project.
As quoted by the State New Agency Antara, Governor Made Mangku Pastika, said: “I have herd that the results of the feasibility study concluded the cost (of the Bali rail project) is too high in comparison with the revenues the rail system will generate. Because of that, for the immediate future the plan for a rail system in postponed. But, if that’s the case, we’ll look for an investor.”
One of the factors that reportedly sunk the Bali rail project was the current high cost of land in Bali.
The governor explained that the initial plan was for the development of the rail project to involve State-owned Companies with the provincial and regional governments in a manner similar to that used in building the new toll road connecting Benoa-Ngurah Rai Airport-Nusa Dua.
The governor said that any evaluation of the viability of the rail project should also consider the social, cultural and social justice potential of undertaking the construction of a round island railway.
The governor used the occasion to describe how the proposed railway would serve as a motor for the economies of all areas the system visited, and remove the concentration of development in Bali away from the crowded south.
“In the future, feasibility studies must be more details and include the provincial government. If the system remains non-viable, then we need to use funds from outside. If we can, we should try it ourselves; don't let the system by owned by outsiders,” said Pastika.
The governor also suggested that in order to save money the rail system might be built on one side of existing highways around the island.
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