Work on the Tel Aviv light rail..
(photo credit: COURTESY NTA)
Economy Minister Arye Deri on Sunday announced he has budgeted NIS 4 million to NIS 5m. in free consultations for small- and medium-sized business owners who are adversely affected by construction on Tel Aviv’s new light rail.
Deri, who made the announcement in a Tel Aviv meeting with businesses struggling as a result of the construction, promised last week that he would look into the issue of compensating the businesses.
“There were workers in the Economy Ministry who told me that this isn’t under the purview of the Economy Ministry and suggested that I not get involved in the matter,” he said. “They told me that dealing with business owners is the responsibility of the Transportation Ministry. But I decided that the ministry workers would act so that hundreds of [businesses] will get over this difficult period in the best possible way.”
The ministry will also appoint a full-time person to handle the issues and liaison with the business owners, Deri said.
The rail’s red line, which is projected to be completed in six years, is expected to eventually be a boon to the surrounding businesses. During construction, however, roads and pathways are blocked, reducing foot and vehicular traffic significantly.
Two weeks ago, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce presented Joint List MK Dov Henin a bill that would provide compensation to such businesses, awarding the businesses up to 20 percent of their lost revenue and giving them tax breaks.
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