February 24, 2012

Israel to build line to Eilat

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THE Israeli government unanimously approved on February 5 the construction of a 350km line to connect the Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat with the Mediterranean port of Ashdod south of Tel Aviv.

"We have the ability to create an alternative transport route that bypasses the Suez Canal - this is an insurance policy," says Israel's prime minister Mr Benjamin Netanyahu. "Israel must become a continental land crossing route."

The government will now consider how to fund the electrified double-track line which could cost up to Shekels 30bn ($US 8bn) including rolling stock. There are three potential funding options: a partnership with another country with which Israel already has economic ties, a public-private partnership, or the state budget. The project is expected to take five years to complete, once the funding mechanism is finalised.

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