Learning lessons from the much-delayed, 23-kilometer first phase of a Tel Aviv regional light-rail system, Israeli transportation officials have issued new engineering and project management tenders for the next two lines, with construction investment estimated at $8 million. Israeli companies will manage the project, with foreign firms playing a major role as consultants.

Government award in 2006 of the estimated $2-billion first line to a consortium of Israeli and foreign firms, led by Africa Israel Investments, was then revoked after financing could not be obtained. The state-owned NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit Systems Ltd. took over, but construction, which included significant tunneling, began only in August 2015; work is set to finish in 2021. “Lessons from the past experience will enable the next two lines to be built more efficiently and without delays,” a Transport Ministry source said. Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said work on the next two segments—a 39-km north-south line with 61 stations and an 18-km east-west line with 44 stations—would start in 2018.

NTA estimates 600,000 passengers will ride the three lines daily. Meanwhile, officials said France-based consulting firm Systra has won a tender to plan three additional light-rail lines in heavy-demand areas in the Tel Aviv metro area.