Tel Aviv subway, where art thou?


How is it that Tel Aviv, which is celebrating its centennial, doesn’t have a subway? asks Aluf Benn in Ha’aretz:

More than 3 million people live in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area without an acceptable level of public transportation, while in significantly smaller European cities, subway systems have long been running; in Iran and North Korea, too. In Israel we get talk and promises, but no subway. Only a pathetic PR film can be found on the project’s Web site.

The benefits for crowded central Israel, the savings to the economy and the impact on the environment of an electric-powered train filled with passengers instead of masses of polluting cars will be enormous. Also, accident rates will drop if young people have a cheap and easy alternative to driving at night.

But building a light railroad in the greater Tel Aviv area, part of which has been planned as a subway, has not moved forward because of problems involving the entrepreneurs behind it. Now, after a year of empty debate, the state is threatening to quash the project, according to Avi Bar-Eli in yesterday’s TheMarker. This will require a new tender and there will be petitions to the Supreme Court. And the result? A child born today will not benefit from a ride to school using modern, quick public transportation immune to bad weather or traffic jams.

The Israeli culture of improvisation has trouble handling large projects; there is no more blatant expression of this than the Tel Aviv subway fiasco.

Full column here.

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