Comptroller slams Haifa’s new rapid transit system
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Comptroller slams Haifa’s new rapid transit system

Yosef Shapira says project has gone NIS 1 billion over budget and disrupts everyday lives of thousands of people

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A Metronit bus in Haifa (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Nirvadel)
A Metronit bus in Haifa (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Nirvadel)

The Metronit bus rapid transit system in Haifa was constructed without a proper master plan or blueprints, without a comprehensive safety review, and with blatant disregard for rulings made by the district planning committee, a report by the State Comptroller charged Wednesday.

Yosef Shapira said that the decision to build a bus-based public transportation system in the coastal city, as opposed to light-rail-based one, was made without transparency and with little to no documentation.

The Metronit public transportation system began operating three months ago. When finished, the system is expected to run three bus lines with 140 stations on a 45-kilometer route.

In 2007, the government entrusted the planning and execution of the Metronit project to the “Yefe Nof” company, which is owned by the Haifa municipality.

The comptroller said Yefe Nof had exceeded its budget — originally set at NIS 540 million — by over NIS one billion. The final cost of the project ended up being NIS 1.59 billion, according to Shapira’s report.

The comptroller added that the continuation of work beyond the planned time period, disrupted the daily life of hundreds of thousands of residents in dense urban areas.

A statement issued by Yefe Nofe said that the delay was caused “due to many factors, most of which were not the company’s responsibility.”

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