The government is to invest NIS 51 million (roughly $13.6 million) in expanding roads and railway tracks throughout the country over the coming decade. The plan, dubbed "Israel's routes" is to be presented to the cabinet on Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
The plan's declared goals include increasing the number of residents in the Galilee and Negev by 20%, closing the gap between the standard of living in the periphery compared to central Israel, and reducing unemployment rates in the former to around 5%, from the current 7.5%.
According to the plan, residents of northern Israel will be able to reach the center of the country in two hours tops, and will be able to make their way to Haifa in less than an hour. To this end, railroad tracks will be laid between Akko and Karmiel, a track will link Hadera, Afula and Beit She'an, a track will be set between Hadera, Tiberias and Kiryat Shmona, and the Tel Aviv-Netanya-Haifa line will be upgraded.
The trans-Israel Highway 6 will be completed and reach Nahariya and Kiryat Shmona. A number of roads in southern Israel will also be upgraded. It should be noted that a number of these plans are not new, and some are already in the works. The main change in Netanyahu's plan is to have all plans bound under one master plan to allow for proper budgeting and deadlines.
Parallel to the "Israel's routes" plan, and under separate funding, the Transportation Ministry is slated to promote additional projects, mainly in central Israel, including adding a lane to the old Tel Aviv-Haifa highway, expanding the coastal Highway 2, adding a lane to part of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and more.
After the plan is presented on Monday, a detailed proposal for a vote on the plan will be placed on the government's table. An inter-ministerial committee will then be formed to run and supervise the project.