The Israeli Government is considering nationalisation of the long-delayed $3bn (NIS11bn) ‘Red Line’ project in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, to get the project back on track.

The project involves building a 23km 33-station rail line, half the length underground, from Petah Tikva to Bat Yam via Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv and Jaffa, allowing passengers to reach Bat Yam from Petah Tikva in 45 minutes.

The decision means that the state will bear the cost of construction of the rail line and the existing contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Systems (MTS) consortium would collapse.

The delay has been due to global recession and the crash of one of the consortium members Africa-Israel, among other reasons.

MTS, consisting of Africa-Israel, Siemens of Germany, the Egged Bus Cooperative, CCECC of China and Soares da Costa of Portugal, won the contract in 2006 to finish the work by 2013.

If the government takes over, the project would be put to fresh tender.

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