Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen is attempting to strike a compromise between the state and the MTS consortium that was awarded the franchise to build the light rail network in the Tel Aviv area.
A week ago, the treasury notified MTS that it had forfeited its franchise and a state firm would proceed with the project instead. This would involve new tenders for work that would be funded by the state.
Cohen says, however, that differences between parties are bridgeable and a project of such complexity would be doomed if transferred to a government company.
He also expressed concern that reliance over years on government funding could be problematic, because the government could feel the need to make cuts in allocations for the project.
Cohen will shortly be convening a meeting between the CEOs of the companies in the MTS group together with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and the ministry's accountant general, Shuki Oren. The monetary dispute separating the sides is over NIS 300 million in connection with an NIS 11 billion project. Many observers see the distance between the sides as small, and believe that a resolution that would permit MTS to proceed with the project is possible.
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