woensdag 16 oktober 2013
Tel Aviv-Eilat Train Project Approved Despite Environmental Concerns
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz was the only cabinet member to vote against the new Tel Aviv-Eilat rail line project during a cabinet meeting held on Sunday.
The ministerial committee approved the controversial rail line, which is scheduled to be the largest and most expensive transportation project in the Israeli state’s history and has raised serious concerns among leading environmentalists.
Environmentalists also believe the new train line poses a risk to Eilat’s delicate coral reefs due to increased traffic at the Eilat port, which will house a bustling shipping center after the project’s completion.
The Transportation Ministry insists the environmental concerns, as well as fears the huge budget will cause other transportation projects to be neglected, is unfounded.
“It won’t damage the coral reefs and won’t come at the expense of other public transit projects for which budgets have been allocated as planned,” the Transportation Ministry wrote in a statement. “It is of strategic importance for the State of Israel and for strengthening the outlying areas [of Israel].”
The project, which will not be open for travel until 2023, will ultimately allow hundreds of thousands of crates to more easily reach Israel’s population center via the Eiliat port as well as reduce travel time for tourists and commuters from Israel’s southernmost city to Tel Aviv to two hours.
Israel Rail puts New Trains on track