ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Regev looking to fire state company over TA light rail delays

Transportation Minister Miri Regev says she has informed the government-run company building Tel Aviv’s new subway and light rail systems that the project will be moved to another body due to excessive delays, Hebrew media outlets report.

The inaugural Red Line of the Tel Aviv light rail, which will travel from Petah Tikva to Bat Yam via Tel Aviv, was slated to open last week. But reports now indicate that the opening, already delayed by several years, may be pushed to July.

According to the reports, Regev will move ask the government on Sunday to approve stripping the National Transportation Authority, better known as NETA, of responsibility over the system, which will include three metro subway lines and three light rail routes.

Instead, she may hand the reins to Netivei Israel — The National Transport Infrastructure Company, which has traditionally focused on highway building.

Among the reasons given for seeking the switch several years into the project are the delays and what Regev says are cost overruns of NIS 3 billion ($828 million).

A file photo of construction on the Red Line of the Tel Aviv Light Rail as part of the mass transit system for the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, some of which runs underground, September 13, 2021. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Regev has railed against the state’s support for a subway system in Israel’s economic center, where traffic congestion is a constant and growing struggle. She has said she will seek to cut funding for the project or kill it altogether, preferring to spend money on linking peripheral areas of the country to the center, and proposing that the city make do with bike lanes and a light rail.

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