Finland concentrates on rail network development
7 April 2015 • Author(s): Kari Ruohonen, Director General of Projects at the Finnish Transport Agency
The greatest challenge in Finland is an insufficient amount of maintenance funds which have resulted in maintenance backlogs in both railway and road infrastructure management. In a report completed in autumn 2014, the parliamentary working group under the Minister of Transport and Local Government proposed an additional annual appropriation of €150 million for maintenance of the existing transport infrastructure and its systems and an additional amount of approximately €50 million per year to strengthen the purchasing power. More emphasis is to be put on small projects and the level of the overall investment in developments will be lowered from the current approximately €600 million per year to €380 million per year for the construction of roads, railways and waterways. Kari Ruohonen, Director General of Projects at the Finnish Transport Agency provides details about the current state of network maintenance and investment projects in Finland which will ensure that the future demands of the industry are met.
In Finland, the focus lies on railway transport development. In Helsinki and in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the Helsinki Metro is being extended to Espoo, and in Vantaa the building of the Ring Rail Line, i.e. the airport and urban railway, is underway. Both projects comprise long tunnel sections and underground stations. The Ring Rail Line will be completed in 2015 and the first phase of the West Metro in 2016. The 2016 state budget allocates €840 million for the second phase of the West Metro, to be completed in 2020. The state subsidy of the metro projects amounts to 30% of the costs, and the city of Vantaa finances 30% of the Ring Rail Line.
The Ring Rail Line will be opened to traffic on 1 July 2015. It is an important land-use project, which will link two currently very disconnected centres situated within the City of Vantaa, i.e. the centre along the Tikkurila main railway line and the areas in Western Vantaa…