Feb. 18--"Construction of the Tel Aviv light rail requires a huge investment by us, but the need for the railway is even greater," said Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz today. He added that he was seeking to put as much of the lines underground as possible, in order to clear land that would be sold to developers, to help finance construction. He also plans to hand over construction of more railway lines to the French government.
"The French are eager to build this project under a binational agreement. France previously already proposed building the project, and had we agreed, we'd already have a metro in Tel Aviv," Katz said. "Not building the Dan Region light rail would be a 50-60 year mess. We won't get a cent from the train, but at least we'll ensure that the project gets underway."
Katz was responding to a series of reports by "Globes" about the failure to build the Tel Aviv light railway and the problem in the conduct of NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd., the government company overseeing the project. NTA has already received NIS 2.5 billion of taxpayers' money without beginning construction of the system's Red Line, or obtaining permits to build the additional lines planned.
"If there was waste at NTA, we're talking about tens of millions of shekels at the most, not billions." He accused the Government Companies Authority of allowing NTA to rent three floors in the Azrieli Round Tower at NIS 8 million a year.
Copyright 2014 - Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel