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Working group’s unanimous proposal: Transport network funding must be increased

Working group’s unanimous proposal: Transport network funding must be increased

Tiedote 01.03.2018 10.35 fi sv en

The parliamentary working group on transport network funding reached its conclusions unanimously after 12 months of deliberations. Its final report on the means for maintaining and developing the transport network was published on Wednesday, 28 February.

According to the working group’s unanimous views, long-term and consistent maintenance and development of the transport network are needed in order to respond to companies’ and citizens’ changing needs. The working group believes that the low levels of transport network funding and short-sighted transport route policies have hampered societal development.

“I would like to thank the working group for its positive and trustful cooperation when tackling these important challenges”, says Ms Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, who chaired the group.

The working group addressed reducing the maintenance backlog, funding necessary development investments, digitalisation and the targets for reducing transport-related emissions.

National transport system plan to support long-term development

The working group proposes that in the future, the transport network should be maintained and developed following a 12-year national transport system plan produced in a parliamentary process. Among other things, the transport system plan would cover key development and maintenance projects as well as the development of transport services.

“A national plan would allow us to develop and repair the transport network over the long term. This model has worked well in such countries as Sweden”, notes Minister Berner.

The plan would be implemented within the framework of the General Government Fiscal Plan, and the drafting of the first national transport system plan could already be initiated during the current government term.

The working group proposes that the plan be prepared in a parliamentary process and in extensive cooperation between different administrative branches, regional actors and business stakeholders under the leadership of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The plan would also be submitted to the Parliament in the form of a report.

Funding for transport network maintenance and development must be increased

The working group unanimously proposes that additional funding amounting to at minimum EUR 300 million be allocated to reducing the maintenance backlog of the road and rail network. This would mean allocating at least EUR 1.3 billion a year to basic transport route maintenance.

“If the working group's proposals were implemented, the badly needed permanent increase in funding for the management of the transport network maintenance backlog would be achieved. This annual additional funding of at minimum EUR 300 million would improve transport safety, the smooth running of traffic, and maintenance across the entire transport network”, says Minister Berner.

The working group maintains that a sufficient increase in funding for transport network development is also needed, and that more flexible use of budget funding for development projects should be enabled in the future. Additionally, project companies could be used more often in development projects.

“Particularly in large infrastructure projects, the project company model could be used more, allowing projects to be implemented on a faster schedule and more efficiently. In addition to the central government, the owners of project companies could include pension providers and other companies”, says Minister Berner.

Rather than commenting on road or street network usage fees, the working group noted that the need for such fees should be evaluated separately. On the other hand, the report advocates the levying of the current rail and fairway fees also in the future. The working group made no proposals on transport taxation issues.

In February 2017, the Ministry of Transport and Communications set up a parliamentary working group tasked with determining the measures required for the maintenance and development of the transport network. The working group submitted its proposal for measures associated with the emission cutting targets in its interim report in August 2017.

To download the final and interim reports of the working group, click on the links to the Ministry of Transport and Communications website at the end of this press release.

Further information:

Ms Sabina Lindström, Director, secretary general of the working group, Ministry of Transport and Communications, +358 40 527 6103

Requests for interviews with Minister Berner: Ms Saara Reinimäki, Head of Communications, +358 50 303 3065