Finnish entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka has announced an injection of €100 million for his plans to build a tunnel under the Baltic Sea, linking Helsinki and Tallinn.
The money comes from a Middle East investment company called Arj Holding, based in Dubai.
At a media event on Monday morning, former Angry Birds frontman Vesterbacka said that now things are moving forward, he believes such a project at what he calls ‘the heart of Eurasia’ will attract businesses and experts from all around the world .
Vesterbacka’s plans to build a €15 billion tunnel, which would be open by Christmas 2024, would use high speed trains to whisk passengers from Helsinki Airport to Tallinn Airport at speeds of 300km in just 20 minutes – less time than it takes to change terminals at some major international airports.
Tickets could cost up to €100 per trip, and there are plans to build an artificial island off the Helsinki coast with apartment blocks, businesses and services as well as a train station for tunnel commuters.
Although no construction has started yet, 50-year old Vesterbacka has been talking up the venture for the last few years and says he’ll start selling tickets already this month.
Today’s announcement of €100 million is the first investment commitment revealed so far although it is understood that Vesterbacka’s Finestbay Area Development company has been in talks with potential partners and backers in Asia and Europe as well.
“We’re making this the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of Europe, maybe even beyond” Vesterbacka told News Now Finland recently.
Finnish, Estonian governments have their own plans
While Vesterbacka forges full steam ahead with his privately financed tunnel project, the Finnish and Estonian governments are moving at a slower pace.
They have been looking into a tunnel project with conventional trains to link the two capitals, and beyond.
At a high level meeting on Friday, Finland’s Minister of Transport Ann Berner (Centre) said “a tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn would be significant for the entire Europe […] the planning and background work in this project has to be of very high quality and must be carried out in close cooperation with Estonia at all stages”.
In an official statement, there was no mention of Vesterbacka’s rival high speed tunnel project, although Vesterbacka has said that there will only be one tunnel project in the end, not two separate ones.