Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel

Entrepreneur claims to build without EU funding

04 Dec 2018, 00:41 ( 9 days ago) | updated: 04 Dec 2018, 03:47 ( 9 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Photo Source: FinEst Link project website.

A private company claiming to build and operate a planned sub sea railroad tunnel between Finland and Estonia said on Monday the tunnel construction would cost 17 billion euros.

Talking to media in Helsinki, Finland's well-known entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka pledged that trains would be running at the end of 2024.

Vesterbacka said his company, "Finest Bay Area" would not rely on local or EU-based public funding, but use private funding from Europe and Asia. He gave the share of Asian money as half of the project.

The Finnish government earlier determined that a tunnel project should belong to the EU core railway plan and be eligible for EU funding. The governments of Finland and Estonia have given no estimate of the cost or schedule of their plan.

Vesterbacka also indicated the private nature of the plan would make the project faster than when working via the public sector, contesting the government view that five to six years would be required for assessing the environmental impact.

Vesterbacka published the Dubai based Arj Holding LCC as the first investor in the plan. Their 100 million-euro input will be used for the planning of the project.

Vesterbacka said his company has recently had discussions in China. Asked whether Chinese state run companies would be involved, he said "of course project of this scale will involve state owned enterprises as well", but said "it is too early to go into detail in that".

Veterbacka pointed out that Helsinki and Tallinn are actually in the heart of Euroasia. He said that Finns are used to seeing the area at the northeastern corner of the map and tend to forget the dimension towards Asia.

He said ticket sales for the 2024 starting trip have begun. A return ticket is now selling at 100 euros. The travel time of one-way journey is to be 20 minutes.

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