NTA head hints at long delay to Metro

NTA CEO Haim Glick  credit: Cadya Levy
NTA CEO Haim Glick credit: Cadya Levy

In a lecture at the Technion, NTA CEO Haim Glick spoke of the Tel Aviv area Metro opening in 2040. The original target date was 2032.

In response to a question from a student during a lecture at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology this week, Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd. (NTA) CEO Haim Glick, whose company is responsible for development of the light rail system and the Metro (underground railway) in the Dan region around Tel Aviv, said that in his view the Metro would not be operational before 2040. Just over a year ago, NTA presented a timetable in which the earliest date for the Metro becoming operational was given as 2034. In the original plan of the government and of the company, the Metro was due to open in 2032.

A source at NTA said, "The CEO pulled a date out of the air, and was not relying on a professional assessment. The project managers signed on a schedule that gives 2032, and we are now dealing with critical points in order to meet the state’s ambitious timetable."

It is not clear what the reasons are for the delay that Glick indicated after just a year, but according to industry sources NTA believes that the original timetable is irrelevant because of the slow-moving work vis-à-vis the Israel Electric Corporation and the long process of constructing the light rail Red Line.

"Special legislation being promoted with all the risks that can be taken shaped the timetable, and then along comes the CEO and throws out other dates," said a government source. "If the company is incapable of carrying out the project, we’ll turn to another one that will take it with due seriousness and the appropriate ambition." Industry sources too expressed surprise at the delay and the timing of Glick’s remark. Only this week, in the discussion on the revised 2024 state budget, Minister of Transport Miri Regev proposed postponing the Metro project, despite the fact that it is expected to be a critical growth catalyst for the economy after the war.

Meanwhile, the Metro Law has still not been approved by the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, and contractors and developers are fuming about the the Metro tax already being imposed on properties near the planned lines, when any economic benefit will not be felt for years. At the same time, the negotiations between the state and local authorities on drilling to test the ground, which will require special arrangements for traffic, have still not been concluded.

NTA said in response to the report: "In the course of an academic discussion, the CEO of NTA commented on the challenges presented by the Metro project. The Metro project is proceeding in accordance with the plans and yardsticks decided on with the government, and with an approved timetable, which NTA intends to abide by."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 17, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

NTA CEO Haim Glick  credit: Cadya Levy
NTA CEO Haim Glick credit: Cadya Levy
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