One month since delaying a decision by the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has revealed that he will follow the recommendation of the Jerusalem Transportation Team and allow the blue line of the light rail to pass through Emek Refaim.
The decision ends two years of debate between opponents who argued that a light rail would lower the value of their properties and destroy the unique aesthetic of the neighborhood and proponents who wanted to save the neighboring Park HaMesila and resuscitate the struggling heart of the German Colony.
To appease those who opposed the plan, the Ministry of Finance agreed to set aside 250 million shekels to help residents and businesses during the construction process. The timetable for completion of the segment was also abbreviated from 42 months to 24 months. This will be accomplished through round-the-clock shifts with infrastructure work taking place at night.
Katz’s decision seals the fate of the 23-kilometer blue line, which will run from the Ramot neighborhood to Gilo and serve as a vital part of the Jerusalem light rail network.