The failure to carry out work assessments is partly responsible for the cost
overruns and delays in completion of the Tel Aviv Light Rail Red Line, according
to the State Comptroller’s Report issued on Tuesday.
The project is
expected to exceed its budget by billions of shekels and to be up and running
years later than originally planned.
The Red Line is to be the first
section of the Tel Aviv metropolitan light rail system. It will run from Bat Yam
in the south to the central bus station in Petah Tikva in the north.
government approved the NIS 10.7 billion contract in December 2010 for NTA
Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd to build the line, with completion
scheduled for 2017. Assessments made last January indicate, however, that the
project will run over budget by NIS 3.7b. and that its opening will be pushed
back between three and five years, the Comptroller’s Report said.
Dutch auditor for the project said last January that the system won’t be up and
running before 2023.
The report attributes the delays and the cost
overruns in part to the failure of the Transportation Ministry and NTA
Metropolitan Mass Transit System to adequately assess the costs of the project.
The documents brought to the cabinet for approval in December 2010 did not take
into account dealing with groundwater contamination, compensation for business
owners located next to the train lines, and other considerations.
addition, the government has only signed agreements with four of the five local
authorities whose territory the Red Line will cross and financial contracts have
only been signed with two of the five, the report states.
NTA did not formulate guidelines about funding, manpower recruitment and
training, travel costs and other expenses.
The report adds that the
government did not carry out a thorough enough examination to check if NTA is
capable of carrying out the project and if it has the necessary knowledge or
experience to do so.
The Transportation Ministry said on Tuesday it had
read the report and that while working on the Red Line it was learning from the
mistakes made during the construction of the Jerusalem Light Rail.
added that since the cabinet decision in December 2010, the relevant government
and private bodies have held weekly half-day discussions into the issues dealing
with the Red Line construction.
The original NIS 10.7b. estimate did not
take into account the real hazards and expenses of the project and it was NTA
that made the updated figures available to the relevant decision- makers, the
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!