Decision-making on highway classification to be streamlined and provisions to be laid down on maximum duration for permit-granting procedures for large TEN-T transport network projects
On 2 February 2023, the Government proposed that the President of the Republic adopt the Act on permit-granting procedures and other administrative procedures for certain projects on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) that would implement the so-called Smart TEN-T Directive. In addition, the Government proposed amendments to be adopted on the Act on the Transport System and Highways as well as on the Railways Act. The Act implementing the Smart TEN-T Directive is to enter into force on 10 August 2023 and the proposed legislative amendments on 7 February 2023.
Permit-granting procedures for TEN-T core network projects to have a maximum duration
The new Act would set a maximum duration of four years for the permit-granting procedures for large trans-European TEN-T projects. The act would mainly apply to projects on the TEN-T core network corridors, with a total cost exceeding EUR 300 million. The Transport and Communications Agency Traficom would be the national authority serving as a contact point for the project implementer and other authorities and monitoring that the administrative procedures of the project progress according to the schedule.
The TEN-T Network links railways, inland waterways, roads and sea and air connections into a Europe-wide transport network. In Finland, the length of the road and rail network belonging to the TEN-T Network is approximately 8,800 kilometres, of which the core network corridors cover approximately 2,460 kilometres. Two core network corridors, the North Sea-Baltic Corridor and the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor, pass through Finland.
Decision-making on road categories to be transferred to the Transport and Communications Agency
The Act on the Transport System and Highways will be amended so that, in future, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency would decide, on the proposal of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency or the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, whether a highway is classified as a main road belonging to Class I or Class II or as a regional or connecting road. The decision will be made in connection with the final engineering plan or as a separate matter. Currently, the classification of highways must be decided by decree. The amended Act contains provisions on the possibility of those municipalities and regional councils in whose area the highway is situated to participate in the preparation process.
The act will not amend the principles governing the classification of highways as main roads Class I, main roads Class II, regional roads or connecting roads, but the principles could be further specified by decree.
Updating the functional categories of highways is one of the measures of the national transport system plan.
The Government proposes that the President of the Republic adopt the Act on permit-granting procedures and other administrative procedures for certain projects on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) as well as the proposed amendments to the Act on the Transport System and Highways and the Railways Act. The President of the Republic is expected to approve the Act and the amendments on Friday 3 February 2023.
The Act on permit-granting procedures and other administrative procedures for certain projects on the Trans-European Transport Network is to enter into force on 10 August 2023. The amendments to the Act on the Transport System and Highways and the Railways Act are intended to enter into force on 7 February 2023.
Eeva Ovaska, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs, tel. +358 295 342 113, [email protected]