Projects of the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Finland's Sustainable Growth Programme promote digitalisation and green transition
On 26 May, the Ministry of Finance published Finland's Sustainable Growth Programme and the Recovery and Resilience Plan it includes. The Government is due to adopt the programme on 27 May.
On the same day, the Government will also submit a proposal for the third supplementary budget for 2021, which includes funding for Finland's Sustainable Growth Programme.
The Recovery and Resilience Plan outlines how the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility funding will be used in Finland. Half of the funding involved will be used for promoting a green transition, and one quarter will be for digitalisation and data economy. The administrative branch of the Ministry of Transport and Communications is responsible for five projects.
The Digirail project, i.e. digitalisation of rail transport
The aim is to reform the access control system for trains. At the end of the life cycle of the current access control system for trains and in line with the EU regulation, Finland will have to start reforming access control for trains in this decade. The Digirail project will ensure the safe operation of trains also in the future. By implementing Digirail with a modern solution, significant benefits will be achieved through the investment: for example, increased rail capacity, improved service quality and environmental benefits. Recovery funding would finance the preparation of testing and piloting activities in the test laboratory, on the test track and on the pilot track, which will remain available for commercial train traffic, during the development and verification phase of the project, i.e. 2021–2026.
The Digirail project will contribute to the digitalisation of transport, which will support the achievement of transport emission reduction targets.
The estimated cost is EUR 85 million. The third supplementary budget for 2021 proposes an appropriation of EUR 3 million for the development and verification stage of the project.
Timetable: The ERTMS testing laboratory would be operational in 2022 and successfully tested by the end of 2022. The test track would be built in 2024 and successfully tested by the end of 2024. Tests on the commercial pilot track would begin in 2026. Commercial operations could be started in 2027.
Investments in cyber security training and research
Cyber security skills are now fundamental civic skills in European countries and for Europeans. The aim is to improve cyber security expertise across the EU. Training improves the operating capacity of society in cyber disruption situations. The measures will contribute to the Cyber Security Development Programme being prepared in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Transport and Communications
The estimated cost is EUR 10 million. The third supplementary budget for 2021 allocates EUR 1 million for investment in cyber security research and EUR 1 million for cyber security training.
Timetable: The investments will be implemented in 2021–2024.
Electronic heavy transport ecosystem and purchase and conversion aid
The investment will support the launch of an electronic heavy transport ecosystem. The ecosystem develops digitalisation-based solutions to reduce emissions from transport.
Part of the investment will be implemented as conversion and purchase aid. Funding for purchase and conversion subsidies will support the realisation of the objectives of the roadmap for fossil-free transport. The purchase and conversion aid will contribute to promoting the share of zero-emission and low-emission vehicles. The aid would be provided for gas and ethanol conversions for cars, vans and heavy‑duty vehicles. The purpose of the aid is to enable private individuals and companies to convert an old vehicle into a more environmentally friendly vehicle.
The estimated cost is EUR 10 million. The financial package for the electronic heavy transport ecosystem is estimated at EUR 5 million. The development of the ecosystem is supported by project funding, which is granted by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency. Part of the aid, estimated at EUR 5 million, will take the form of purchase and conversion subsidies. The purchase and conversion aid could be implemented in such a way that the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency is responsible for granting the aid.
Timetable: The measures would be implemented over the period 2022–2023.
Enhancing the quality and availability of communication networks
The aim is to enhance the quality and availability of communications connections in Finland in areas where advanced communications connections are not commercially built and to coordinate broadband investments. The recovery funding is intended to complement the existing national broadband aid scheme to channel the recovery money. The aim is to target the aid for broadband connections that enable at least 100 megabits per second.
The aim is also to hire a coordinator for the National Broadband Office to draw up a financial coordination plan and to inform about broadband.
The estimated cost is EUR 50 million. The third supplementary budget for 2021 proposes an appropriation of EUR 50,000 for the project.
Timetable: The schedule for the broadband aid scheme would be 2021–2026. The activities related to the National Broadband Office would run from 2021 to 2023.
Funding also for the implementation of the objectives of the roadmap for fossil-free transport
Finland aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. Finland aims to become the world's first fossil-free affluent society and is committed to halving transport emissions by 2030.
With regard to transport, the green transition pillar as a whole aims to reduce emissions and move towards fossil-free transport. In May 2021, the Finnish Government adopted a resolution on reducing domestic transport-related greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. the roadmap for fossil-free transport. The Recovery and Resilience Facility will allocate funding for achieving the objectives of the resolution. The investments are directed at public transport electricity and gas charging and refuelling infrastructure, as well as at the private charging infrastructure, which will be financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of the Environment.
In addition, the investment in purchase and conversion subsidies supports the objective of the roadmap for fossil-free transport to promote the share of zero- and low‑emission vehicles.
The objectives of the roadmap for fossil-free transport are also supported by actions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which support new energy technologies (e.g. biogas and other renewable transport fuels) and investments in low-carbon hydrogen.
Sanna Ruuskanen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 50 376 2377
Enhancing the quality and availability of communication networks:
Heidi Mäntylä, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 472 5802
Katariina Säynäjärvi, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 400 6730
Investments in cyber security training and research:
Rauli Paananen, Director of Cyber Security, tel. +358 40 565 9060, Laura Vilkkonen, Director General, tel. +358 40 500 0817
Electronic heavy transport ecosystem:
Emil Asp, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 509 9757
Actions in support of the objectives of the roadmap for fossil-free transport, purchase and conversion aid:
Päivi Antikainen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 50 382 7101