Estonian minister: Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel very promising project (5)
Speaking at Estonian business daily Äripäev's Äriplaan 2017 (Business Plan 2017) conference on Wednesday, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal described the prospect of building an undersea tunnel connecting the capital cities of Tallinn and Helsinki as a very promising project.
A detailed feasibility study is due to be completed in 2018, after which a decision will have to be made regarding how to move forward — such as in the event that the payback period turns out to be longer than expected, said Michal.
"My opinion is that this project has very promising prospects," said the minister, adding that this holds true especially if the interest of Tallinn and Helsinki as well as Estonia and Finland to create a common economic space are kept in mind.
"There is a great deal of interest in it in Finland as well," he noted.
Michal also stated, however, that international air connections remained a priority for Estonia as well.
"What matters a lot to Estonia is that Tallinn isn't a place where you tell your foreign partner, 'Please fly here via Riga,'" he explained. Ensuring air connections does not have to be the duty of a state-owned airline, he noted; it may also be a private company ensuring competition on the market in Estonia. Estonia's goal is to ensure direct connections with European capitals at least twice a day, five days per week, the effect on the economy of which is worth 63 million euros.
Estonia's third important transport project is Rail Baltic, on which several agreements have recently been reached between the three Baltic States.
An undersea tunnel connecting the capitals of Estonia and Finland is estimated to cost approximately 13 billion euros. Michal has previously stated that according to initial estimates, the tunnel's payback period would be 40 years.