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(11/15/2013) The province of Bali is pointing with pride to a number of statistical indices that demonstrate success and progress for the Island.
Made Mangku Pastika, the Governor of Bali, recently outlined via BisnisBali.com the economic success achieved under his leadership and the many challenges ahead.
Among the favorable economic indicators are:
Bali’s population is estimated at 4.1 million people with approximately 900,000 visitors and tourists thought to be on the Island at any particular point in time bringing the total number of people “living” in Bali to 5 million.
Meanwhile, the Governor estimates that given Bali’s total area is 6,636 square kilometers, an “ideal” and sustainable population base should be around 1.5 million people. Pastika sees the overpopulation of Bali as the source of a long litany of problems currently being confronted by the Island.
Reflective of population pressures, an estimated 700 hectares of farmable land is diverted each year from agricultural purposes. This has contributed to a severe shortage of fresh water now increasingly felt in main tourist areas of the island such as Sanur, Nusa Dua and Kuta.
Bali’s main rubbish disposal area (TPA) located near Benoa Harbor and receives 5,094 cubic meters of waste each day. This is just part of the estimated 10,182 cubic meters of trash generated by Bali each and every day.
Too Many Vehicles
Bali’s record of economic success is also reflected in the growing mobility of its residents. The large number of vehicles operating on the island is causing traffic congestion, particularly in the southern parts of Bali.
A Moratorium on New Vehicles in Bali?
Pastika continued, telling how each year another 20,000 new cars are introduced to Bali’s roadways. This does not include the estimated 5,000 new motorcycles joining the Island's road system each month.
And despite the recent opening of Bali’s first toll road and the completion of the Island’s first underpass, the number of new vehicles crowding roads and highways overwhelms the pace of new road building in Bali.
All these new vehicles operating in Bali are creating a windfall in revenue for the province. In the 2012 APBD 77.63% of all local tax revenues were derived from fees charged from transfer of vehicle ownership and road taxes. The Governor warns that the island’s tax structure must start to wean itself from an over-dependency on road taxes and discover ways to reduce the number of vehicles traveling the Island’s highways.
The Governor said that he is considering declaring a moratorium on new vehicles for five years in order to achieve zero-growth for motorcycles and passenger cars. Pastika points out that with the natural attrition of older cars the proposed moratorium could result in negative growth of vehicles on Bali.
Among the measures under consideration is not allowing cars to be reregistered in Bali from other provinces in Indonesia and by registering every car brought to Bali on a short holiday by its owners.
Pastika defends the idea of a 5-year moratorium on new vehicles for Bali as necessary to provide a pause while road rules are revised and improvements in the infrastructure can be undertaken.
The 5-year pause would allow the formulation and introduction of a progressive tax structure for those owning more than one vehicle and a retribution plan for vehicles “visiting” Bali.
During the same period, Bali would be able to prioritize the construction of new underpasses, flyovers and other infrastructure improvements that would include new toll roads and a monorail or train systems.
The Governor said a means must also be found to reduce the number of intersections in Bali, as traffic lights at busy intersections remain a major source of traffic jams.
Of main importance to the Governor is how to grow Bali’s mass transportation system to create a system that is inexpensive and user-friendly in order to attract the masses to use such services. The Trans-Sarbagita bus system introduced during Pastika’s governorship should be expanded both in terms of routes and armada.
Of equal importance, says Pastika, is the creation of satellite parking areas in the cities and economic centers while at the same time increasing areas for pedestrians and cyclists.
Pastika admits that all these ideas will require further study and widespread socialization to the public. Pastika said his thoughts in these areas remain tentative in nature, still requiring input from the general public and experts.