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Speaking of that light rail...by michael • January 11 2008
The Jerusalem Light Rail, which can't seem to have a single meter of track laid without running into crippling delays, international shouting matches and grave material failures, has been officially delayed until 2010, instead of the 2009 date promised after the last delay. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Meanwhile, the "Todah Al Ha-Savlanut" (Thanks for the patience) signs the city put up a couple years ago, proudly emblazoned with the image of the finished light rail, have turned into a grimy, yellowed testament to municipal self-mockery. Savlanut concerning the Municipality's light rail-related shenanigans (not to mention its countless other missteps and misdeeds), it seems, is running out in Jerusalem.
While Jerusalemite salutes Mr. Barkat for trying to squeeze out of the Municipality the answers Jerusalem residents deserve, it's hardly a mystery to anyone why the light rail has been repeatedly delayed. Most public officials in Israel (and anywhere else), unfortunately, can be counted on to be incompetent, corrupt or a terrifying cocktail of the two. Combine that with a multi-million dollar project, and you can rest assure that nothing will get done until the right pockets are greased - and when they are, and something finally does get done, it's a safe bet it'll get done wrong.
Essentially, this is business as usual, but it contains a more worrisome note than the average incident of civic incompetence. The light rail is ostensibly a system that will transport thousands of passengers, day in, day out, for decades. This is not the kind of project in which one cuts corners. This is not the kind of project that can afford "incorrect tracking." The light rail needs to be the very epitome of safety and reliability - Jerusalem has already had more than its share of disasters. Jerusalemites do not only need to demand accountability - they need to demand responsibility.
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