Six months after the announcement of the tender results, a concession agreement has been signed between the state and Metro Transportation Solution group (MTS), the winner of the tender for the light-rail's Red Line in Gush Dan.
The signing went ahead after the Knesset Finance Committee approved the state's financial commitment for the most complex and expensive infrastructure project in its history.
Work should begin by 2008 and continue for about five years (2013).
The winner for the Red Line service, the first portion of the first mass transit system in metropolitan Tel Aviv, was announced on December 31, 2006.
The MTS group, which consists of Africa Israel, Siemens of Germany, the Egged bus cooperative, CCECC (a Chinese infrastructure company), the Portuguese infrastructure firm Da Costa Soares, and the leading Dutch transportation company HTM, will carry out the BOT (build, operate, transfer) project, meaning it will build the line and gets to run it for 32 years, after which it hands it over to the state for no recompense. MTS will receive a grant of NIS 7.16 billion, while the project is estimated to cost about NIS 10 billion.
The 22-km Red Line will connect between Petah Tikva and Bat Yam via Tel Aviv. The line will include 10 underground and 31 above-ground stations, beginning at Petah Tikva's central bus station, through Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, to Bat Yam with trains running every two to 10 minutes. The Red Line is expected to serve 100 million-120 million passengers yearly.
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz commented: "The light rail in Tel Aviv is expected to change the face of the entire metropolis, and is part of the vision for transportation in the State of Israel, which includes quality, efficient service and advanced technology for all of its citizens."
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