Jakarta, IO – As 52 percent of local roads have been categorized as “damaged”, the central Government has allocated an additional IDR 32.7 trillion to repair and rehabilitate the roads in the regions in 2023. One of the main causes of road damage is the weight of overloaded and over-dimensional trucks. Therefore, the Government should, first and foremost, build a weigh-bridge facility to attempt to control this issue. The budget allocation from the central government is expected to solve road damage issues in the regions.
Recently, the public was tickled with news about damaged roads in Lampung Province. The President went to directly inspect their condition, and then inspected Jambi and North Sumatra highways. The fact is that roads in the three provinces are severely damaged.
This means that drivers must drive more slowly, to prevent vehicle damage and avoid accidents. The damaged roads have been a constant concern for many years, but no significant action has yet been taken.
In 2021, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) revealed that damaged roads in Indonesia reached 174,298 km or 31.91 percent of the total road network, which is 546,116 km. The report detailed that 139,174 km are in moderate condition, 87,454 km damaged, and 86,844 km severely damaged.
The disparity in infrastructure development
The gap in road infrastructure development can be blatantly felt by the community. Much road infrastructure has not been handled properly, and are thus like chalk and cheese with the development done by the central government. The construction budget from the central government seems reluctant to do anything about damaged roads in the regions.
In his second term, President Joko Widodo’s administration continues to boost infrastructure development, including toll roads, because equitable infrastructure is a sure-fire way to drive the country’s economy.
However, the reality could not be further from the truth. Amid the intensive construction of the Trans Java, Trans Sumatra and other toll roads, the infrastructure disparity is clearly seen in rural, district, provincial, and even national roads. Many are still in dreary condition, either damaged or unpaved, making it difficult for vehicles to pass. This has consequences, in terms of impairing the wheel of the economy, whose spokes are supposed to reach rural areas.
The responsibility for road construction has been clearly divided: the central government is authorized to look after national roads, the governor is responsible for provincial roads, and the regent/mayor is accountable for the district/city roads.
Poor governance also contributes to exacerbating road conditions in the regions. Budgets allocated for infrastructure construction are often stolen by corrupt regional heads. Hardly surprising because the biggest allocation in the local government budget (APBD) is for road infrastructure construction.
The conditions of the road network infrastructure also affect logistics costs. To reduce these costs, the Government should address the issue of extortion on road users and law enforcement’s fiddling during vehicle weights at the weigh-bridge facility.