The City of Helsinki has looked into the possibility of building an underground tunnel to reduce traffic congestion in the city centre. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)


MAYOR OF HELSINKI Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) has aired his frustration about the actions of his deputy mayors and the headwinds faced by a project to build an almost seven-kilometre tunnel under downtown Helsinki.

“I admit straight up that I’m really disappointed with the collapse of the downtown tunnel and pedestrian centre expansion,” he stated in a lengthy open letter published in his blog on Friday.

“And I’m especially disappointed with the way it happened.”

Vapaavuori published the open letter in response to news that the tunnel project is opposed by two of the three largest groups of councillors on the Helsinki City Council: the Greens and Social Democrats. He accused the parties of putting the brakes on the project without sufficient background information.

“You can’t think of this as modern, responsible or smart activity,” he slammed.

“I’ve stated numerous times along the way that I’m not married to the tunnel project, but that it must be weighed up thoroughly. The Greens and its two supplementary left-wing parties wanted to do the opposite.”

Nasima Razmyar (SDP), the deputy mayor for culture and leisure, told Helsingin Sanomat that she opposes the project because of its high costs, which have been understated in the estimates presented by Vapaavuori.

“I think he should respect the honesty in that it wasn’t worthwhile to look further into the project because it had no chance to move forward from the viewpoint of our group. It was no use continuing this unnecessary political play,” she stated to the daily newspaper.

Anni Sinnemäki (Greens), the deputy mayor for urban development, said to the newspaper she hopes the administration of the city can continue its fruitful co-operation after getting over the project.

Vapaavuori responded to Sinnemäki on Twitter. Taking it upon oneself to decide when a feasibility assessment can be wrapped up, he said, is a sign of disrespect for other people and contempt of high-quality democratic processes.

“We need good government,” he stressed.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi