Wed, 31 Aug 1994

Surjadi hopes MRT done during his time

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Surjadi Soedirdja expressed hope that the oft-delayed urban Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, which will link Blok M in South Jakarta with the Kota area in West Jakarta, will be completed while he is still in office.

"I hope the project will be finished while I am still serving my term of office," Surjadi told reporters on the steps of City Hall on Monday.

Surjadi, who was installed as Jakarta governor in 1992, will end his term of office in 1997.

The Ministry of Public Works announced on Aug. 8 that the government will build MRT projects linking Blok M and the Kota area and West Jakarta and East Jakarta. The announcement did not reveal where the East-West corridor will start or end.

When asked whether the city administration will opt for an underground system or an elevated one, Surjadi said that it has not yet been decided.

Surjadi said that numerous studies on MRT systems have been conducted and that thus far the city administration will choose one which meets the following four points:

First, it should not spoil the city's beauty; secondly, it should not be harmful to the environment; Third, the public should be able to afford the fares; Fourth, the construction should not cause traffic congestion.

Referring to his meeting on the MRT project with Minister of Research and Technology B.J. Habibie last week, Surjadi said it was necessary to hold further discussions because no final decisions on the mode and financing have been made.

The governor said that budgetary constraints are a major hurdle to the mass transportation project.

Despite the limited budget, Surjadi said, the city's chronic traffic jams must at any rate be solved as soon as possible or else the long-standing traffic problem will become enormously difficult to solve.

One way of solving the problem, said Ery Chayaridipura, the chairman of the City Development Planning Agency, is to cooperate with private companies in financing the project. (arf)