Yossi Daskal: Israelis overspend on transport

Ayalon Highway

The Bombardier Israel CEO said 14% of the Finance Ministry's budget comes from the auto market.

"Public transportation is a sector that must grow rapidly and now, before it is too late. People complain about the cost of cottage cheese when it goes up by NIS 0.20, but they don't realize for what they are really paying through the nose," said Yossi Daskal, CEO of the Israel branch of Canadian company Bombardier, which supplies railway cars to Israel Railways, among other things.

"Public transportation is quality of life," Daskal declared, and added that Israel was rated in 33rd place among the 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in the transportation component of its quality of life index.

"In Israel, assuming that both husband and wife work and live outside Tel Aviv, each of them needs a car," Daskal said. "The cost is about NIS 6,000 a month for a couple. In Western Europe, they pay about €50 a month for transportation, or NIS 500 a month per couple. A Western European doesn't need a car, and won't pay a cent beyond €50. He gets all his transportation for a single ticket. He doesn't lose time in traffic jams, at gas stations, or looking for parking spaces and parking lots."

"Globes": Why isn't Israel making progress?

Daskal: "Too many people profit from the absence of public transportation, first and foremost the Ministry of Finance. 14% of its budget comes from the auto market: payments for vehicle maintenance, mechanical tests, fees, and taxes. 56% of what we pay for gasoline goes to the Finance Ministry's budget. The ministry gets NIS 14 billion a year from excise taxes on cars alone. Fatalities, air pollution, and wasted time, on the other hand, don't appear in the balance sheets. In Europe, the finance ministries' revenue from private vehicle taxes is only 1-2%. In Israel, the auto companies, credit companies, and bus companies employ lobbyists and take action to halt the development of rail transportation."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 4, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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