Following a meeting with one of the heads of a consortium in charge of developing an undersea tunnel connecting Tallinn and Helsinki, Tallinn City Council Chairman Tiit Terik (Centre) said that the planned tunnel would benefit all of Estonia.
"Having heard one of the project's leaders, Kustaa Valtonen, and seen the sketches of the project, I tend to believe that this 100-kilometer tunnel costing around €15 billion will indeed become a reality at some point," Terik said according to city council spokespeople. "Whether it is by 2024, as has been promised by enthusiastic project leaders, or slightly later isn't even that important right now. What is important is that this tunnel will benefit both Tallinn and its neighboring municipalities as well as all of Estonia."
Personally, he added, he was quite fond of the idea of an undersea railway tunnel connecting the two cities.
"Unlike those who are working on the project on a daily basis, I find it very difficult to set any time frames, but I feel that while the tunnel is this big, unprecedented thing today, in the future, the Tallinn-Helsinki link will be something very ordinary, kind of like the Kopli tramway," Terik said.
Finest Bay Area Development Estonia, the company developing the project, filed a request with the Estonian government in early May for the launch of a procedure for a national designated spatial plan for the proposed railway tunnel and a related artificial island in the Gulf of Finland.
China, Dubai interested in project
China's Touchstone Capital Partners and tunnel developer Finest Bay Area Development, headed by businessmen Peter Vesterbacka and Kustaa Valtonen, signed a €15 billion memorandum of understanding in early March according to which one third of funding would be provided as own capital, while the other two thirds would be provided as a loan.
Touchstone would maintain a minority stake in the development company and assume the obligation of granting a loan to the project. ARJ Holding, a Dubai fund, has also previously agreed to finance the tunnel in the amount of €100 million.
Core consortium members of Finest Bay Area Development include consulting and engineering company Pöyry, A-Insinöörit, and construction company Fira.
Editor: Aili Vahtla