ISRAEL: The government and the Municipality of Jerusalem issued a formal invitation on December 5 to prequalify for a 30-year concession to build, operate and maintain the city’s first light rail line. Bidding documents were to be available from the Ministry of Transport four days later, with a closing date for prequalification bids of May 15 2000. The city is planning to hold a briefing conference for interested companies on February 1.

The chosen concessionaire would design, finance, build and equip the first line and then operate it for 30 years. Work began in 1998 on diverting utilities along a 14 km initial route, which runs from Pisgat Zeev to Mount Herzl via Jaffa Road (RG 11.98 p754). The municipality has already spent US$14m on this work, and Transport Minister Yizhak Mordechai has allocated US$24m for preliminary works in the current financial year.