A task force set up to examine how to proceed with a planned railway tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn below the Gulf of Finland, has reported back saying that new technologies and private sector involvement were needed for the project to progress.
The task force, established in February, found the project will require private sector involvement in order to proceed and that the “tunnel would have wide-ranging positive effects on both countries, and it would enhance traffic between Europe and Asia”.
Chaired by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the report stated that due to the scale and complexity of the tunnel project, its progress would require new and innovative solutions.
A statement from the Ministry of Transport and Communications said: “Building the tunnel would require exploring and utilising technology innovations. Exploring different solutions in, for example, drilling technologies and development of high-speed rail transport technology would be essential for the next stage of the project.
According to the report private sector involvement would speed up the progress of the project and strengthen its financial viability, with one way to implement the tunnel would be to find multiple sources of funding for the project.
The report recommends that in order to proceed, the project would need a strong project organisation and the next step could be to establish a development vehicle, like a project company, that would take the project forward. And that by the end of 2018, Finland and Estonia should agree on concrete involvement and participation in the implementation of the project and draw up a proposal on what the next steps in the project will be.
Finland and Estonia should coordinate land use planning the reported says, to enable the implementation of the tunnel project. Similarly, the countries should work together to ensure that the tunnel connection will be included in the EU’s TEN-T core network when it is revised in 2023. This would create visibility for the project and enable applications for certain EU funding.
Back in February, the Ministry of Transport and Communications set up a task force to assess the need for further research on the Tallinn Railway Tunnel and the wider impact of the project. The task force has representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and the cities of Helsinki and Tallinn. As part of the work, two consultancy studies were commissioned regarding further development and wider economic impacts of the tunnel project.