With about six weeks to go to the planned start of operations, the Jerusalem Municipality is preparing for a further delay of about two months in the launch of the Jerusalem Light Rail. The launch date for commercial operations, which is several years after the date originally planned, is August 8. This date was set at the beginning of this year by the arbitrators in the dispute between the municipality and the state on the one hand and the franchisee on the other, the CityPass consortium, comprising Ashtrom Properties Ltd. (TASE:ASPR) (45%), Alstom (20%), Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. (TASE: HARL) (20%), the Israel Infrastructure Fund, and Veolia (5%).
From "Globes'" enquiries it emerges that it is already clear to all the parties that the official launch date is not realistic. This is because of a serious disagreement over traffic lights, for which no solution is on the horizon. The municipality and the Ministry of Transport are demanding that CityPass should obtain approval of the functioning and safety of each set of traffic lights in the project. There are fifty sets of traffic lights along the line itself, and another fifty affected by them. CityPass claims that the demand is unrealistic, and that there is no reason not to rely on the approvals by the French engineers. So far, CityPass has installed two sets of traffic lights. About half the systems are in various stages of approval.
CityPass says that the traffic lights that have been approved by the state have already been installed, and that a substantial portion of the traffic lights have been waiting for approval for over a month, and will be installed as soon as approval is obtained.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 22, 2011
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011