The Shekels 5.9bn ($US 1.6bn) line from Haifa to Tufic Zayad in Nazareth will serve 17 stations, nine of them with park-and-ride facilities.

The specification calls for a fleet of 32 52m-long tram-trains, which will accommodate 300 passengers, of which 130 will be seated. Tram-trains will operate at up to 100km/h on interurban sections of the route, where distances between stations will be greater.

Management of the project will now pass to the Cross Israel Highway Company, which will be responsible for tendering.

Welcoming the committee’s decision, transport minister Mr Israel Katz said the light rail line is a national project which will strengthen Haifa as the capital of northern Israel.

The line is due to open in 2023.

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