Jerusalem approves NIS 1.1b. for Light Rail extension

The Jerusalem Regional Planning Committee a NIS 1.1 billion allocation to extend the Jerusalem Light Rail line.

The Jerusalem Regional Planning Committee approved a NIS 1.1 billion allocation from the Transportation Ministry’s budget on Wednesday to extend the Jerusalem Light Rail line to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.

According to the ministry, the extension will take two years to complete and add more than 21.9 kilometers (13.6 miles) to the light rail’s current route – resulting in a total of 36.2 kilometers (22.5 miles) of tracks.

The railway currently travels from the northern neighborhood of Neveh Ya’acov to Mount Herzl, west of central Jerusalem.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz hailed the expansion on Thursday, noting that it was part of a joint effort between the ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality to provide more efficient transportation solutions to the capital’s residents.

“The public transportation system in Jerusalem is going through a revolution that can be an example to other cities in the country,” said Katz.

“In a few years, hundreds of thousands of Jerusalem residents, and the many visitors who visit the city, will enjoy a pleasant and safe ride on the light rail.”

Katz said the extension was due in part to accommodate the high volume of visitors and staff at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.

“Every day about 30,000 people visit the Hadassah hospital, in addition to the thousands of hospital employees,” he said.

“Railway transport will make the hospital more efficient and help visitors driving there save money collected from all vehicles entering the hospital.”

The ministry has already begun preparatory work to extend the line, including the construction of new stations, and it plans to purchase dozens of new cars, which Katz said will allow the light rail to transport roughly 250,000 passengers daily.

Earlier in the year, the municipality announced plans to extend the railway from the Kiryat Moshe station to the Har Nof neighborhood.

Katz said the ministry is modeling the system after those in European countries that have significantly cut down on traffic and pollution by creating efficient and convenient railways.

“Soon we will buy more cars in order to meet the many demands of the light rail network and we intend to build light rail lines similar to those in Europe,” he said.

Total expenditures for the project are expected to reach NIS 4 billion.

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Source : jpost

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