After 12 months: Finish parliamentary group says transport needs more moneyStaff Writer | March 2, 2018
The parliamentary working group on transport network funding in Finland reached its conclusions unanimously after 12 months of deliberations.
Transportation Annual additional funding
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. ■