Tel Aviv light rail project may be stopped in its tracks

The Finance Ministry is considering freezing the project and diverting its budget to a light rail project in Beersheba instead.

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY (TRANSLATED)
May 26, 2008 08:58
1 minute read.
Tel Aviv light rail project may be stopped in its tracks

jlem light rail 2. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Although large sums of money have already been spent on preparing the ground for the light rail line in Tel Aviv, the Finance Ministry is considering freezing the project and diverting its budget to a light rail project in Beersheba instead, reports www.local.co.il. The move comes in the wake of continuing friction between the ministry and the city of Tel Aviv over the funding for the light rail line. According to the report, a ministry official said the move was being considered as part of an overall plan to divert funds from the center of the country to the periphery, and that no final decision had yet been made. But a municipal spokesman said that while every development plan for the periphery was welcome, the long-planned light rail project in Tel Aviv should not be put on hold. The spokesman said an efficient public transport system in central Tel Aviv would make business and cultural centers more accessible for all residents and visitors, and would provide the most important stimulus possible to advance social and economic growth, as well as improving the quality of life for residents. A spokeswoman for a Tel Aviv-Jaffa environmental protection organization also said that while it was essential to invest in the periphery, the idea of freezing the project in Tel Aviv was "infuriating." "Investing in public transport in metropolitan Tel Aviv is no less important (than investing in the periphery) in order to reduce the social gap between poor and rich in the central area and to improve services for the benefit of those who are unable to purchase a private vehicle," the spokeswoman said. "Investing in the light rail is critical so that we can reduce the damage to the environment stemming from air pollution, traffic congestion, and the noise of some one million vehicles that move around the city and harm us all."

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