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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tel Aviv Light Rail System - What is going on ?

For over five years now the Government and local municipalities in Greater Tel Aviv have been planning a light rail scheme, similar to that being built by CityPass in Jerusalem which is due to open later this year.

On December 31 2006, the contract to build and operate the first line of the Tel Aviv Light Rail was awarded to the Metro Transport Solutions Consortium.  The first line known as the Red Line is planned to be a 22km line from Petah Tikva through Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv and Jaffa to Bat Yam.

The original plan was to construct the line by 2012 or 2013 at an estimated cost of 11 billion shekels.  However, because of continued financial wrangling and arbitrations construction is no where near beginning.  Therefore in October 2010 the Ministry of Finance cancelled the franchise with the Metro Transport Solutions Consortium and decided that the Israeli Government would operate the project in-house.

This caused  the Metro Transport Solutions Consortium to file a 2 billion shekel lawsuit against the Israeli Government.

The Israeli Government has argued that since the contract was signed at the end of 2006 the Metro Transport Solutions Consortium has continued to demand many ammendments to the franchise agreement which would have "wiped out the financial and quality advantages of the scheme for Israel".

We await the outcome of the lawsuit and how the Government proposes to develop any future light rail scheme in Tel Aviv.

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