The first excavation machine for the light rail route in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area has been named 'Golda,' after the late Prime Minister Golda Meir.
The excavation machine 'Golda' began work today (Sunday) to clear land for the laying of the tracks, which will serve Tel Aviv and surrounding parts of the Gush Dan region in the center of the country.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said: "Golda Meir was the first [woman] to serve as Prime Minister, and was one of the six who laid the cornerstone here. I hope that we will all dig faster and achieve our goal."
The excavation began four months ahead of schedule. "The decisions taken by the last three governments were that the Transportation Minister should change the reality, to connect the periphery to the center and to lead infrastructure projects. The size of the project has deterred [it being carried out] over many years, and the four decades it has been neglected were daunting, but we are not afraid of the challenges we must undertake to change this reality," Katz said.
"The reality which will be here in all of Gush Dan will look different. That is the whole difference. In an age where politicians are rewarded for tweets rather than for actions, we must state that leadership depends on actions and decisions [which contribute] towards progress. Life is not virtual reality."
The eight tunnel boring machines which will be used to dig the tunnels in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area are approximately 380 long each, with a width of approximately 25 feet. Each machine weighs approximately 900 tons. and carries twenty workers and engineers from the China Railway Tunnel Group. The machines are expected to each clear approximately 33 feet of tunnel per day.