Expressions of interest were invited in 2012 for the contract which includes track, signalling and train control, electrification, and security systems.

The prequalified consortia include:

  • Alstom Transport and Israeli partner Minrav Engineering & Building;
  • Bombardier and Danya Cebus, Israel
  • TAT, comprising Colas Rail, Thales, Systra and the Israeli companies Shapir Civil and Marin Engineering, and
  • Sefarad Infrastructure, comprising Spanish companies Ineco, Indra, Isolux Corsan, Isolux Ingenieria, Corsan-Corviam Construction, and Metro de Madrid.

The winning bidder will be selected in the second quarter of this year and the contract will be signed at the beginning of next year.

At a meeting with the prequalified bidders in Tel Aviv on January 13, NTA chairman Mr Alex Wishnitzer stressed that the city intends to proceed with construction of all eight planned mass transit lines. "We have full support from all parts of the Finance Ministry to budget the additional lines and we also have the full support of the Transport Ministry," he says. "The overall cost of the project is around $US 28bn and if needed, we'll find external financing sources."

Wishnitzer also promised that NTA will appoint a new general manager for NTA within the next few weeks.

NTA's Red Line manager Mr Tony Burchel added that he expects the first line to be completed on schedule. "I don't see any reason why the Red Line will not be completed as promised in October 2021 or even earlier," he says. "There is no doubt that problems will arise, but with cooperation we'll be able to fulfill the mission."

Within the next three months NTA will introduce a high-frequency bus service on the Red Line route, which it hopes will encourage greater public transport use on this corridor in readiness for the start of light rail services.