Finland receives a record EUR 80.78 million in EU funding for transport projects
The European Union has awarded funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for nine projects in Finland. Funding was received for rail transport and port projects. They include central government projects and projects by other actors.
In its meeting on 21 June 2022, the Connecting Europe Facility Coordination Committee supported the proposed funding decisions. The European Commission granted a total of EUR 5.8 billion in funding, of which EUR 2.48 billion from the general appropriations. Some of the funding decisions were already made on 7 April 2022. In the 2021 application round, a total of EUR 101.9 million was granted to projects in Finland. The Commission awards funding to projects with high planning and conduct potential.
"In last year's application round, Finland did better than ever before. Thanks go to the high-quality applications that help us improve our country's competitiveness by developing rail and port transport," says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.
The CEF programme supports transport projects in the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The EU-wide TEN-T links railways, inland waterways, roads, sea and air connections into a single transport network. In Finland, funding was granted for both the core and comprehensive network projects. The CEF programme provides funding for the implementation of the TEN-T network in accordance with the CEF and TEN-T regulations.
Funding for rail transport and ports
Construction of the Kupittaa-Turku double-track line and the Turku railway yards
EUR 22.98 million was granted for the construction of the Kupittaa-Turku double-track rail line and Turku railway yards. The sum will be divided equally between the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and the City of Turku. The project is part of the construction of a high-speed rail connection between Helsinki and Turku. The objective of the support project is to enable a significant increase in passenger traffic that will be caused by the high-speed rail connection between Helsinki and Turku, its coordination with freight transport, and to promote the development of commuter traffic in the Turku region.
Planning the construction of the Tampere passenger railway yard
EUR 6.26 million was granted for the construction planning of the Tampere passenger railway yard. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency received EUR 5.38 million, the City of Tampere EUR 0.8 million and VR EUR 0.08 million. Tampere railway station is an important transport node, the development of which will extensively serve the comprehensive network connections linked to the station.
Improving the smooth flow of rail traffic between Tampere and Jyväskylä
EUR 3.23 million was granted to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency for the development of the railway between Tampere and Jyväskylä. The aim of the planning project is to improve the flow and punctuality of rail traffic, taking into account the environment, and to reduce the Tampere-Jyväskylä rail line's vulnerability to disruptions. The aim is also to improve the speed of passenger transport and to ensure the adequacy of the rail section capacity by developing transport locations.
Development of transport locations in the Oulu-Kontionmäki rail section
For the development of transport locations in the Oulu-Kontionmäki rail section, EUR 7.25 million was granted to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The capacity utilisation rate of the Oulu-Kontiomäki rail section is high due to the long distances between transport locations, and transport is thus vulnerable to disruptions. Also, the number of trains cannot be significantly increased. The development project for the Oulu-Kontiomäki rail section includes the construction of four new long transport locations and the extension of the current Utajärvi transport location.
Deepening the fairway to Ajos in Kemi and improving the port infrastructure
A total of EUR 26.12 million was granted for the development project in the port of Kemi. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency received EUR 12.54 million and the port of Kemi EUR 13.59 million. The project will improve the safety of the port's sea connection by deepening and widening the fairway to Ajos in Kemi. In addition to dredging work, the project will include improving the infrastructure in the port. With a 12-metre navigation depth, the project will enable more efficient operation, allow larger vessels with full cargo to enter the port, and prevent congestion in the port.
In addition, the Commission granted funding for other operators relating to both the core and comprehensive network. The port projects will improve both the infrastructure and see to the necessary environmental investments. EUR 6.8 million was granted to the Twinport V project in the Ports of Helsinki and Tallinn, EUR 3 million to the Power-4-Future project in the Port of Kokkola, EUR 7.5 million to the Quays2Solutions project in the Port of Pori, and EUR 2.08 million to the Baltic comp project in the Ports of Rauma and Ystad.
Some Finnish projects were left without funding
Despite good assessments, some Finnish projects did not gain funding. In relation to the available budget, the Commission received a large number of applications. This increases the likelihood of sound projects being left without funding. The application round attracted a total of 484 applications, 317 of which were submitted for the general call and 82 for the cohesion call. The total amount of funding applied for was EUR 14.6 billion. A total of 103 projects received funding from the general appropriations and 32 from the appropriations targeting the cohesion countries. In the case of the core network, in particular, the total amount of applied funding exceeded significantly the appropriations earmarked for the purpose. State-funded projects that were left without CEF funding include the improvement of the Naantali-Raisio road connection, the second phase of the Helsinki-Riihimäki railway project, the improvement of the Paimenportti interchange to the Port of Kotka, the Airport line of the Finland Railway, and the NEXT ITS Digital Corridor project.
At the meeting of the transport programme Committee, Finland abstained from voting on the outcome of the call. Finland considers that the application evaluation process should be more transparent and consistent. The Airport line project, for example, was rejected without consistent justifications. Finland emphasised in the Committee meeting that this issue was problematic.
The Commission will conclude payment agreements with each applicant by the end of 2022. The Commission will open the next CEF call for proposals in September 2022. Projects that did not receive funding during the previous application round may apply for funding again in the autumn.
Johanna Juselius, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 372 7062, [email protected]
Timo Kievari, Director of Unit, tel. +358 400 593 706, [email protected]
Marjukka Vihavainen-Pitkänen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 825 1255, [email protected]