According to the plan, the 350-kilometer line will be for passengers and freight and is due to shorten travel time to just two hours.
“The Tel Aviv-Eilat railway line will change the face of the country. For 63 years, there has been talk about linking up the periphery to the center, but nothing has been done,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Moreover, the line is meant to offer a new Asia-Europe trade route.
“The State of Israel must create vital interests from a national strategy point-of-view. We have the ability to create an alternative transportation route that bypasses the Suez Canal – this is an insurance policy. Israel must become a continental land crossing route and create great power interests,” said Netanyahu. “The railway line and Israel’s natural gas resources can forge strong links in the economic, energy and industrial fields.”
Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Harel Locker will consider three alternatives for financing the project: An inter-governmental agreement between Israel and another government with which there are economic and strategic interests; establishing the project in cooperation with the private sector; or funding from the state budget.
The line is scheduled to open five years from the start of construction.
Reports estimate the project’s costs to run some $2.3 billion.