Two cities signing the Memorandum of Understanding from the left:  Pekka Sauri, Ossi Savolainen, Ann

Two cities signing the Memorandum of Understanding from the left: Pekka Sauri, Ossi Savolainen, Anne Berner, Kristen Michal, Ulle Rajasalu and Taavi Aas

Authorities in Finland and Estonia have signed a Memorandum of understanding aiming to improve transport between the two countries, including an undersea rail tunnel.

Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia, is said to constitute almost a single labour market area, as it is estimated that the Helsinki region employs tens of thousands of Estonians, many of whom commute between the cities weekly on fast ferries, according to The City of Helsinki.

A short-term solution discussed by the cities was to improve sea connections, with an easier flow of transport from the harbours. They said better dialogue was required as well as joint planning to develop mobility and transport further. Smart mobility pilot experiments are planned for both Helsinki and Tallinn.

The potential long-term solution to shorten the time between the cities is to provide an undersea railway tunnel.

The cities agreed to look at the economic preconditions for the construction and operation of such a tunnel and the tunnel’s socioeconomic impact.

In early 2015, the cities of Helsinki and Tallinn, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and the Harju County Government published a prefeasibility study based on simple calculations showing that the tunnel would be an economically viable investment.

Two project applications were submitted in the late autumn of 2015 aiming at better transport flows and long-term development of mobility and transport. Financing for both projects will be decided during the spring of 2016.

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