The vote came after sharp exchanges between Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom.
After several hours of discussion, the government has approved the "Connect Israel" transport infrastructure plan by 19 votes to 4 with one abstention.
The vote came after sharp differences of opinion between Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom. Steinitz demanded cancellation of the Acre-Carmiel railway line, estimated to cost NIS 7 billion to build, for a total cut in the original plan of NIS 20 billion. Steinitz also demanded that the plan should be spread over fifteen years rather than ten. Shalom however insisted not only that the extra cut should be rejected, but that the Eilat-Kiryat Shemona line should also be budgeted for.
The plan that emerged is for an investment of NIS 27 billion to build the Jezreel Valley line and the Acre-Carmiel line, the extension of Route 6 to Cabri, near Nahariya, and electrification of the new lines.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 24, 2010
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