Tel Aviv's light rail runs out of steam

The light rail has no financing and the franchisee's main partner, Africa-Israel is mired in its own financial and other problems.

The Tel Aviv light rail is mired. The franchisee, Metro Transport Solutions (MTS), has not been able to secure financing with the banks and Ministry of Finance for the Red Line, the first route from Petah Tikva through Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, and Jaffa to Bat Yam, for two years already.

Meanwhile MTS's leading partner, Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY), is facing its own financial and other troubles, and it is not certain that the Israeli government has a business sector partner for the project, which aims to relieve traffic congestion in greater Tel Aviv.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that a recommendation will be submitted to the National Planning and Building Commission's committee on principle planning matters to dismiss most of the objections to the Tel Aviv light rail. Adv. Thalma Duchan, the attorney hired by the committee to examine the 170 objections filed against the railway, recommended approving the plan, dismissing the majority of the objections, and assuming full or partial responsibility for the others.

The light railway is due to have a capacity of 520 passengers per track, compared with 140 passengers for an extended bus that travels in special lanes.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 14, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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