Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz attended a ceremony marking the beginning of work on a massive tunnel that will be the final project of the planned Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed rail line, expected to be completed in 2017.
The tunnel, which will be the longest in Israel at nearly 7 miles, will run between the towns of Sha’ar HaGai and Mevaseret Zion.
Netanyahu said that the ultimate goal is to have a high-speed rail line connecting the entire country from “Kiryat Shimona in the north to Eilat in the south” that could even one day “connect to Jordan in the east,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
The high-speed rail line has cost around $1.9 billion and is expected to carry passengers between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in only 28 minutes, including stops at Ben-Gurion Airport as well as the cities of Modiin and Latrun. The current rail connection between the two cities follows an old Ottoman-era rail line that takes considerably more time.