New Fast Lane to Tel Aviv - but Only for Four in the Car, or at a Price

A fast lane on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway, between the Ben-Gurion and Kibbutz Galuyot interchanges, could be in the offing, as the Transportation Ministry prepares to release preliminary tender documents in the next few days.

Vehicles carrying fewer than four people would be charged a toll for using the lane, which would be toll-free for public transport and private vehicles carrying at least four people.

The ministry's panel of experts, headed by Professor Ilan Solomon, yesterday presented its findings to Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The panel concluded that an extra lane, in the 13-kilometer stretch from Ben-Gurion Airport to the outskirts of Tel Aviv, was worthwhile, according to a cost-benefit analysis.

The cost-benefit analysis was initially commissioned three years ago. It was recommissioned following significant changes in the determining factors, such as exchange rates, interest rates and levels of traffic forecasts. The report was expected to be released last year, but was held up by a dispute between the Transportation and Finance ministries over which body would be responsible for managing the project. The two agreed finally that an outside body, not the Public Works Department, would manage the show.

The project is expected to cost some NIS 350 million. It will include a 2,000-space parking lot for park-and-ride users, and a terminal for the new train line and bus station at Ben-Gurion Airport.