Summary of opinions: National transport system plan ensures long-term progress

Press release 18.03.2021 11.59 fi sv en

Cars on the road (Photo: Harry Hykko/Shutterstock)

On 18 March the Ministry of Transport and Communications published a draft summary of opinions on the national transport system plan for 2021-2032 and an assessment of its impacts.

The national transport system plan seeks to impose a more long-term perspective on development of the transport system throughout Finland. The plan is drawn up for 12 years at a time.

The plan covers all modes of transport, including passenger and freight transport, transport networks, services and support measures for the transport system.

The consultation round ended on 23 February with a total of 256 opinions received. These individual opinions and the general summary have been published via the Gateway to Information on Government Projects.

A clear majority of the opinions addressed issues related to transport networks and infrastructure cost sharing. Another popular topic concerned measures related to public transport and integration of journeys.

“The national transport system plan concerns the whole of Finland, and it is therefore particularly gratifying that we received opinions from a wide geographical area. I would like to thank all commentators for their worthy comments and suggestions, and everyone who has been actively involved in preparing the plan. This, if anything, has been accomplished together,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

Overall transport system funding considered inadequate

The national transport system plan was considered a necessary tool for long-term development of the transport system. While the contents of the plan were generally welcomed, many suggestions for improvement were also expressed.

The opinions expressed approval of an increase in funding for basic road maintenance, although the overall funding level for the transport system was still considered inadequate. Many proposals called for additional funding, especially for highways. The financial contribution of urban areas was regarded as insufficient. Increased funding for walking and cycling, access parking, private roads and public transport was generally praised, with opinions also raising concerns about the inadequacy of road safety measures.

The guidelines proposed in the draft plan for expanding the transport network funding base provoked very widespread opposition. Concerns were raised about the weak financial position of municipalities, with fears of regional inequality and declining vitality.

A proposal to strengthen informed policymaking was welcomed in the hope of extensive interaction when implementing the plan.

The national transport system plan was perceived as dissociated from other ongoing projects that affect the transport system. The road map for fossil-free transport and project companies engaged in planning major rail connections were particularly highlighted in this regard.

Enhancement of impact assessment continues

The opinions observed that the impact assessment for the plan provides an adequate impression. A lack of quantitative assessment data was highlighted as a key challenge of assessment. Assessments were requested in such fields as the regional impacts of developing the transport system.

Comments on the impact assessment will be considered when finalising the environmental report, and in development and follow-up work concerning impact assessment.

What are the next steps?

The plan will be finalised in the light of comments received in the consultation round under the guidance of a parliamentary steering group.

The national transport system plan for 2021-2032 will be submitted to Parliament in the form of a Government report in spring 2021.

For further details, please contact:

Timo Kievari, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 059 3706, Twitter @TimoKievari

Hanna Perälä, Senior Ministerial Adviser on Transport , tel. +358 50 305 0037, Twitter @PeralaHanna

Kaisa Kuukasjärvi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 414 0330, Twitter @KuuKaisa

Tuire Valkonen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 570 8334, Twitter @ValkonenTuire (Impact Assessment)