Road projects in e. J’lem get 0.5b.m (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 02/23/12)
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Mayor Nir Barkat and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced a
half-billion shekel, five-year improvement plan for roads in east
Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The plan will create 32 new roads and improve existing roads in the
capital’s Arab neighborhoods.
“This is a message to every resident of Jerusalem and every resident
in east Jerusalem, that here we are strengthening Jerusalem in every
way possible, both to get into Jerusalem as well as within Jerusalem,
for every sector of the population that lives here,” said Katz. “On
top of all this, we need to strengthen Jerusalem as the united
capital, and to show that we are concerned for every citizen.”
Barkat acknowledged that decades of neglect had created serious gaps
between east and west Jerusalem’s infrastructure, but he said the 32
new streets are “part of a process.”
The plan will budget approximately NIS 50 million per year for the
next five years for new roads. Other parts of the plan will upgrade
existing roads, including building sidewalks and improving
accessibility around schools. Also, NIS 20 million will be dedicated
to developing roads that provide an alternative to the clogged
Highway 1, Jerusalem’s main entrance and exit.
Additionally, Barkat announced a budget of NIS 300 million for 200
new classrooms in east Jerusalem. The Association for Civil Rights in
Israel, which researches education disparities in east Jerusalem,
estimates a lack of 1,000 classrooms.
“We know there is a clear connection between infrastructure
development and the blossoming of the city,” Barkat said, adding that
the connections between poverty, crime and illegal building are
clear. “There is no question [this plan] will significantly improve
the city,” he said.
The improvements for roads in east Jerusalem include eight new roads
in Shuafat and Beit Hanina, three new roads in Isawiya, two new roads
on the Mount of Olives and in Wadi Joz, eight new roads in a-Tur, Ras
el-Amud and Silwan, four new roads in Beit Safafa, and seven new
roads in the Tzur Bahar/Jebl Mukaber neighborhood.
There are no plans for improving roads in the neighborhoods of
Jerusalem that are located on the Palestinian territory side of the
separation barrier but still located within municipal Jerusalem. The
infrastructure in these neighborhoods, home to approximately 60,000
Arab residents, is among the worst in the city. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 02/23/12)
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