Government to allocate €8 million to Haapsalu railroad

After a week's discussion, the government approved Estonia's transport infrastructure investments plan for 2018-2020 yesterday. The plan will concentrate on the Tallinn-Pärnu highway and the Tallinn and Kärdla airports. Construction of the Haapsalu railroad is also included in the plan. The government will be investing an additional €135 million into transport connections.


Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson, who took the plan to the government, answered Postimees' questions in writing.

You want to invest in rebuilding the railroad to Haapsalu. Was the decision aimed at the whole of Estonia, or were you trying to boost the image of head of the Center Party in Lääne County Jaanus Karilaid?

The objects we picked come as a result of negotiations in the coalition, which is how they should be seen, including the Haapsalu railroad. Allow me to recall that the construction of the Riisipere-Turba railroad section as well as the decision not to renovate the Lelle-Pärnu section in light of Rail Baltic reflect the desire of local government heads, which fact surely played a role in the final decision.

There is a bus connection to Haapsalu. Does this mean the state will have to subsidize the Haapsalu rail connection for it to be able to compete? The previous Haapsalu connection made a loss even in private hands.

Public transport subsidies (both road and rail transport) will grow from this year's €70 million to €92 million next year.

Just as is the case in most European countries, passenger rail traffic is not cost-effective in Estonia, and the state will be subsidizing carriage of passengers with €34 million next year.

It is not the sole purpose of public transportation to turn a profit. Rather it is there to make it possible for more people to have a dependable mode of transport while minimizing environmental impact and future need for infrastructure investments.

Why is it necessary to reconstruct the first section of the Haapsalu railroad (Riisipere-Turba) next year, instead of fixing the Aaspere-Haljala death trap on the Tallinn-Narva highway first?

I have talked to the road administration concerning that section of the highway, and I have been told it would be possible to start renovation work there in 2019-2020 at the earliest. That is the realistic time frame as first it is necessary to design the new section, carry out compulsory purchase of property, hold procurements etc.

Where else could the €8 million allocated to the Riisipere-Turba section have been used?

The coalition had several projects on the table; however, decisions were made unanimously and with Estonia's best interests in mind.

Why was the Lelle-Pärnu section of the railroad left out of the plan in the end?

The Lelle-Pärnu section was one of those objects I myself took to the cabinet. Unfortunately it did not merit the coalition's support.

Who were for it, who against?

The coalition's decisions are mutual.

What will become of the Lelle-Pärnu railroad now?

We will commence construction of Rail Baltic in the coming years that could replace the railroad in the future. Alternatives need to be sought until such time.

What else was left out of the plan besides Lelle-Pärnu, and why?

There were numerous objects, too many to list here. The state's wallet has its limits, and I believe the best possible choice was made.

What is the transit roads program, and which road sections will benefit from it?

The transit roads program, for which €15 million will be allocated, is aimed at supporting local governments the roads of which are traveled in transit. A similar program has been utilized before, albeit in much more modest volume. Specific roads have not been chosen yet.

Why did it take so long to discuss the investment plan in a situation where you were supposed to have an agreement a week ago?

The government does its work thoroughly and takes time to listen to experts. The plan was in no rush. I'm happy we reached a positive result.

postimees
Estonia'stransport infrastructure transport inEstonia
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in december
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
At the Riigikogu sitting beginning at 10:00 EET on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) will provide an overview of the activities of the Estonian government in the implementation of EU policies. Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Toomas Vitsut (Centre) will also deliver a report, and representatives of the Riigikogu's parliamentary groups will present their positions, according to a Riigikogu press release. In his rep...
Society
Chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Mart Helme has called on Helir-Valdor Seeder, chairman of junior coalition member Pro Patria to tie the latter's support for the state budget bill to a decision by the government not to support joining the UN Global Compact on Migration. "Pro Patria still has the chance to demand from its coalition partners [the Center Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE)] that its stances be t...
Society
Political news portal Politico published its list of the most influential people in Europe next year last week, with fifth place going to Estonia’s cybersecurity ambassador Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar. Tiirmaa-Klaar takes her place in between well-known Europeans, after Secretary General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr and in front of Ukrainian presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko. Politico believes Italy’s populist interior minister Matteo Salvini will...
Society
Representatives of the transport ministries of the Baltic states, Finland and Poland who met in Tallinn on Monday were of differing opinions regarding whether to remain in summer or winter time once the practice of changing the clocks twice per year comes to an end. A recent survey indicates that more than half of Estonians would prefer permanent summer time. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland jointly acknowledged that the agreement to end the...
Society
Ida-Viru Central Hospital is having trouble with patients not showing up to scheduled specialist appointments. To combat this issue, beginning next year, the hospital will start charging visit fees for no-show appointments as well. Last year, patients at Ida-Viru Central Hospital failed to show up for scheduled appointments a total of nearly 9,500 times, accounting for some 5% of all hospital visits, reported ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera. "Patients...
Society
Tallinn city government finds that it is not reasonable to relocate the Tallinn Bus Station to the Ülemiste district near Tallinn Airport and that it should be left in its current location on Lastekodu Street. In connection with the preparation of an architectural idea competition and the drawing up of a detailed plan for the Ülemiste terminal in the framework of the Rail Baltic railway project, the city is drawing the attention of the Ministry of Economic...
Society
A criminal investigation has been launched into the Medita Clinic, one of the largest private sector bidders in public procurement tenders in the health sector in Estonia. The Northern District Prosecutor's Office initiated the investigation in accordance with the Penal Code section concerning the transmission of false information, according to ETV investigative show Pealtnägija. The Medita Clinic was the largest private provider of specialist medical care...
Society
The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) has signed an agreement with Online accommodation and hospitality marketplace Airbnb which enables hosts to automatically report earnings. The MTA and Airbnb held a joint press conference on Wednesday, announcing the agreement's signing as well as the new system and its rationale. The main premise, according to MTA deputy director Rivo Reitmann, is to keep things simple, meaning that Airbnb hosts who declare their income in...
Society
Luminor notified its clients that as of 1 January, the bank will be closing the accounts of Estonian e-residents that fail to fulfil due diligence. Hannes Oja, head of Anti-Money Laundering at Luminor Estonia, said that based on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, banks are required to update the data of all of their customers, writes daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL). As a result, all existing clients have to do so themselves on a regul...