Feb. 18--The Rishon LeZion Municipality is prepared to help finance construction of the Tel Aviv light railway's Brown Line, Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz said today.
Asked about the establishment of a metropolitan transportation authority, Katz said, "London and Paris built their subways long before there was a metropolitan transportation authority. The problem with such an authority is that if it loses billions of shekels, from whom will it get the money?"
In 2011, Katz rejected a proposal from then-Ministry of Transport director general Dan Harel and the Ministry of Finance to establish a metropolitan transportation authority to oversee mass transit in metropolitan Tel Aviv, where there are currently 14 municipalities. Harel resigned when the proposal was rejected.
Katz said that the government could finance projects, such as the construction of a network of light railway lines in in metropolitan Tel Aviv, but that he welcomes the Rishon LeZion Mayor Dov Tzur's proposal to share in the financing of the Brown Line. He said that he was astonished that Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai has not made a similar offer.
The 30-kilometer Brown Line is planned to run from Lod, through Beer Yaakov, Rishon LeZion to Bat Yam, and is scheduled to begin operating in 2023. Tzur wants to expedite construction to link Israel Railways' Rishonim train station in the east with the Moshe Dayan train station in west Rishon LeZion. At present, there is no link between the two.
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