It took two years of negotiations for the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport, on one side of the table, and Jerusalem Light Rail concessionaire CityPass and works contractor Alstom, on the other, to come to an agreement on the extension of the rail network.
The work is expected to be complete by early 2020 and will include an extension of 8 km of the existing Red Line, currently 14 km long. According to the agreed plan, the line will continue southwards from Mount Herzl to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital and northwards from Pisgat Ze'ev to Neve Yaakov. Two branch lines, known as "the campus lines", are supposed to reach the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus and Givat Ram campuses.
On top of this, it is foreseen doubling of number of cars from 46 to 90, and the supply of systems to the project. The project costs are estimated at €700 million. The state will pay €350 million to City Pass and another €350 million for civil works by other contractor.
Initially the apple of discord between the two sides was of financial nature, as Alstom demanded €380 million for the works while the state was willing to pay €310 million. The compromise reached by the parts is even more welcomed, as the alternative considered by the state was putting the line extensions works out for tender, despite priority being given to the existing concessionaire by the underlying contract. This process is thought to have delayed the operations by at least three years.
CityPass CEO Yaron Ravid said "Already, 140,000 people travel on the Jerusalem Light Rail daily, and many more will shortly be able to enjoy comfortable, pleasant and fast travel."
Jerusalem has been experiencing recently a transportation development boom. The construction of a second rail line called the Blue Line was approved at the beginning of this year that will allow continuous travel along 20km from the Gilo neighborhood, through the city center, to Ramot—and back. A third project, for a Green Line is awaiting approval.