After endless events and public declarations on the topic, the fantasy has come true: The Tel Aviv "metro" is underway.
In a year from now, two huge drilling machines will descend 20 meters (65 feet) underground near the Arlozorov train station, and will start drilling in the direction of Allenby Street. Two parallel tunnels, from north to south, will be dug along Menachem Begin Street toward Nave Tzedek.
Two other tunnels will be started from Geha Street to Jabotinsky, connecting the above mentioned tunnels.
The group that won the bid to build the subway made the momentous announcement about the first subway line in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
About a month ago, Yedioth Ahronoth published that MTS Group, owned by Africa-Israel in conjunction with Siemens, Egged and a Chinese infrastructure company won the bid for the groundbreaking project.
In the official government ceremony Sunday at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz announced that MTS Group won the tender, beating out Shari Arison's MetroRail.
The State set aside a grant of NIS 7.75 billion (USD 1.8 billion) to get the project off the ground. MTS made the lowest offer. The overall investment is the largest ever in an infrastructure bid in Israel – some NIS 10 billion (USD 2.3 billion).
The subway line will be 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) long, 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) and 10 stations of which will be underground. There will be 23 above-ground stops. Current projections expect 400,000 passengers to travel the line per day.
Travel time from Petach Tikva to Tel Aviv, instead of the current 45 minutes, will take 19 minutes. From Bat-Yam to Tel Aviv will take 28 minutes during rush hour, and Ramat Gan to Tel Aviv will be a 10-minute trip.
During rush hour, a train will come every three minutes. During normal daytime hours, a train will come every six minutes. A train will arrive every 10 to 15 minutes during nighttime hours.