Katz also said in Eilat that he plans to issue bonds to fund the construction of the line to overcome planned government spending cuts.
The Southern District Committee for Design and Building has selected the alignment put forward by Israel Roads for the section from Dimona to Hazeva. The Be'er Sheva - Dimona and Hazeva - Eilat alignments were approved two months ago.
The double-track electrified line will have separate alignments on some sections for freight and passengers trains to minimise the ruling gradient for freight trains. This means the new railway will be 260km long for freight trains but just 240km long for passenger services.
The railway will have five new passenger stations, eight locations with additional tracks to handle freight trains, and four freight terminals.