Small businesses seek compensation during Tel Aviv light rail construction

The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce presented Joint List MK Dov Hanin with a bill to remunerate the businesses.

Work on the Tel Aviv light rail. (photo credit: COURTESY NTA)
Work on the Tel Aviv light rail.
(photo credit: COURTESY NTA)
Small and medium size businesses along the route of Tel Aviv’s future Red Line, which began construction earlier this month, are seeking compensation for lost business activity during the lengthy process.
On Wednesday, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce presented Joint List MK Dov Henin with a bill to remunerate the businesses, which would be affected from street closures during the construction.
“The severity of the situation – where legitimate business owners in Israel, who built their businesses, find themselves facing a serious blow to their revenues, or the closure of their business, as a result of the decision to carry out a public project – requires an urgent solution,” said FICC President Uriel Lynn in a statement with his deputy, Adv. Dan Carmeli.
The bill would see the Finance Ministry appoint a compensation committee to evaluate claims of businesses, including their reduced income relative to the two-year period before the construction.
The committee would then award the businesses up to 20 percent of their lost revenue, with certain restrictions applying to both the size of the business and the maximum compensation allowed.
The bill would also give tax breaks and other incentives for the businesses who continue to operate during construction.
Those businesses that survive the construction stand to benefit greatly once the light rail station is up and running, as it will bring large amounts of commuter traffic to their areas.
At the launch of the construction, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that affected businesses should get help, but advised that the areas near the rail would be a wise place for real estate investments.
Given that the rail is not scheduled to begin operating for another six years, however, the businesses will have to face a lengthy stretch of obstacles before they can benefit from the new infrastructure.
On Thursday, Economy Minister Arye Deri announced plans to meet with local businesses, and promised to be a resource for dealing with the difficulties.
Those difficulties are expected to multiply Friday morning, when the Ma’ariv Bridge is set to be demolished. Traffic over the bridge was halted a week earlier, and nearby intersections closed ahead of the demolition.