Finest Bay Area Development on Monday announced it has received an investment of 100 million euros for the planning and permitting stage of its project to build an undersea railway tunnel between Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia.
The cash injection came from ARJ Holding, a Dubai-based company specialising in water, energy and infrastructure technologies.
Peter Vesterbacka, one of the two co-founders of Finest Bay Area Development, stated in a press conference that receiving the first external backer is a crucial step for the entire project. “The Helsinki-Tallinn area will in the future be one of the fastest-growing [metropolises] in Europe,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The 15-billion-euro development project has thus far been funded independently by Vesterbacka and Kustaa Valtonen, the other co-founder of Finest Bay Area Development. The objective is to commence both passenger and freight services on the roughly 100-kilometre, double-track railway by Christmas 2024.
The project has thus far moved forward independently of Finest Link, a feasibility study for an undersea railway link between the two cities co-ordinated by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.
Both Vesterbacka and Anne Berner (Centre), the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications, emphasised yesterday that there cannot be two separate railway tunnel projects.
Finest Bay Area Development also said its project has made progress on the regulatory front: An application for a water construction permit has already been filed in Estonia while a proposal for environmental impact assessments will be filed in Finland in January. The undersea tunnel is also tentatively included in the regional plan for Uusimaa.
The development company also announced ticket vouchers for the 20-minute train ride are now available online, the idea being that the ticket and freight fees would ultimately cover the construction costs.
With a return fare of 100 euros, for example, the repayment period would be 17 years, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi