U-turn: Regev threatens to cancel Michaeli's highway projects

Miri Regev is back in the Transportation Ministry and threatens to undo a number of her predecessor's infrastructure projects.

Miri  Regev (photo credit: REUTERS)
Miri Regev
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Transport Minister Miri Regev is threatening to cancel the public transport lanes on Highway 1, promoted by her predecessor Merav Michaeli, as well as the public transport lanes on Ayalon and the coastal road.

Regev ordered the head of the Public Transportation Authority to reexamine the need for the three lanes. "Getting stuck in traffic and seeing an empty public transportation lane won't happen under my watch. If the lane is not used by enough buses, money should be added to have more buses, or cancel it," she said.

Regev, who returned to the Ministry of Transportation yesterday, said that she "will advance the reforms [she] started. We must improve contact with citizens and connect the State of Israel with trains, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat. Traffic jams are a troubling issue, they waste time and harm the economy. There are no magic solutions to this. In order for people to give up having a private car, they must get better public transportation."

The chairman of the Labor Party MK Merav Michaeli, said in response to Regev's order to re-examine Michaeli's public transportation lane project: "Cancelling the public transportation lanes throughout the country just because they were carried out on my shift and in my policy is irresponsible and harms all citizens of the State of Israel. More congestion. More traffic jams. More hours on the roads. What arrogance and obtuseness there is in this decision. This is the opposite of the change that the State of Israel wishes for."

Stopping the Metro project

Regev also announced that she will oppose funding the metro from state funds until the connection between the periphery and the center is addressed. "The Dankel light rail network under construction is supposed to provide a solution to the congestion, together with the bicycle path project, the 'Ofnidan'. Under these conditions, there is no reason to add another rail network. If there will be no solution to connect the State of Israel, I will oppose the further promotion of the project. We must not do only what is easy, we must think a decade ahead."

 TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Merav Michaeli attends a news conference at the new Allenby underground station of the light rail red line in Tel Aviv, in June. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Merav Michaeli attends a news conference at the new Allenby underground station of the light rail red line in Tel Aviv, in June. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

"The prime minister spoke to me about the establishment of lightning-fast bullet trains that will connect the State of Israel across its length and breadth, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat. Connectivity and integration are back, after being suspended for the past year, connections to central transportation centers will be reached by various routes and bicycle and scooter paths. We need to establish more public transportation centers integrated with commerce so that people can buy coffee and go to the supermarket on the way home."

A ferry to Tel Aviv?

Regev also announced that she is considering two projects that she initiated in the past and which were canceled during the Michaeli era, on the recommendation of the professional ranks: A sea shuttle to Tel Aviv from the north, which experts estimated would be too slow and without economic viability, and a train on wheels, which is manufactured in China and does not meet Israeli standards.

"I say to the NTA and Netivey Ayalon, now go back to work on these projects. In the end, clerks are just clerks, and legal advisors are just advisors. We came to govern, to deliver the platform on which we were elected."

Regev also said that she would advance the construction of the complementary airport to the National Airport in Nevatim, a possibility that the professional committee established by Merav Michaeli did not recommend, and which the Defense Ministry opposes.

"We must strengthen Ben Gurion Airport, Ramon and Haifa and work to establish a complementary airfield. In the previous term, I decided to establish an airfield in Nevatim after ten years of footdragging. The field will be brought forward soon because Ben Gurion Airport will reach full capacity by the end of the decade. The country needs another airport."

Regev also said that she would return the regulation requiring the installation of a system to prevent forgetting children in cars, which Michaeli canceled on the grounds that it does not have viability and is too expensive. From an inspection that Walla carried out after the cancellation of the regulations when Michaeli took office, it became clear that before the cancellation and towards the implementation of the regulations, the prices of the systems skyrocketed and ranged between NIS 299 and NIS 500.

There were also other and cheaper systems, but these conveniently did not meet the standard of the Transportation Ministry. Since the "cancellation" of regulations, these prices have crashed. And the prices of most systems were between NIS 150 and 250. While four systems cost between NIS 250 and 350, one system costs over NIS 350 and another over 450.

In the previous round of regulations, the Transportation Ministry admitted that parents' response to the regulation was extremely low. At the time, at the end of July 2021, about a week and a half before the regulations came into effect, only about 50,000 kits were purchased out of the 800,000 expected by the ministry, only 6.25%.