The Interior Ministry’s District Building Committee has approved an extension of the Jerusalem Light Rail route to reach the Givat Shaul neighborhood.

According to the ministry, the new route will be extended by 1.5 kilometers, from the intersection of Herzl Boulevard and Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Street, along Kanfei Nesharim Street to the entrance to Har Nof, with four new stops.

In a statement released Sunday, the ministry noted the importance it places on ongoing improvements of the capital’s infrastructure – particularly with respect to the public transportation system – to reduce traffic and pollution.

“By improving transportation from Har Nof to other neighborhoods of Jerusalem, this project will significantly improve accessibility to employment centers, education facilities and cultural institutions throughout the city,” the statement read.

“In addition, the program will improve access to the Givat Shaul industrial zone, developing greater employment opportunities in the area for businesses.”

Despite numerous objections to the extension, the ministry said that it authorized the project due to its “fundamental importance to further upgrade the urban infrastructure and use of public space.”

In June, the Jerusalem Regional Planning Committee approved a NIS 1.1 billion allocation from the Transportation Ministry’s budget to extend the light rail line to Hadassah-University Medical Center at Ein Kerem.

The railway currently travels from the northern neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev to Herzl, west of central Jerusalem.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz lauded the expansion, noting that it was part of a joint effort between the ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality to provide more efficient transportation solutions to the capital’s residents.

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