Helsinki council leaders call for more progress on Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel plan

  • 2015-05-25
  • From wire reports and TBT staff, TALLINN

Members of Helsinki city council have called for progress on the plan to build a tunnel between Tallinn and the Finnish capital, in order to avoid Finland becoming an economic periphery country.

A preliminary 2015 study by Sweco suggested a rail tunnel under the Gulf of Finland would be the most practical solution as it would link Finland with the future Rail Baltic project. 

According to Finnish national broadcaster, Yle, Helsinki politicians fear the plan will become stalled if further studies are not undertaken. 

“It is clear that this thing has to be worked on at full steam,” said Emma Kari, the head of Finland’s Green Party. 

“The preliminary study made it clear that it is certainly worthwhile to continue with work. 

“The fact that the plan is not progressing is not good for us in any case.”

She added the economic downturn in Finland is the main reason for implementing the plan, despite the preliminary studies estimating the tunnel will cost between 9-13 billion euros. 

"In a poor economic situation, investments of this type give us better growth outlook,” continued Kari.

“The tunnel would bring us closer to Europe, it would improve transport links and it would benefit the economy.”

Head of the Social Democrats, Osku Pajamaki, added Finland has been long isolated from Estonia in terms of transport, but conceded ship traffic between the two countries has been smooth. 

Meanwhile, the chairman of Finland’s Coalition, Lasse Männistö, claimed ship traffic was “not enough.” 

The plan has been driven by the Helsinki council without any participation from the Finnish state so far.