The state and cities join forces in the design and implementation of the E18 Growth Corridor project
The Ministry of Transport and Communications organised a high-level seminar at Helsinki Fair Centre on 22 March 2012 to discuss the development of the E18 motorway corridor under the title "Motorway Attraction – the E18 growth corridor from the EU to Russia."
The E18 Growth Corridor seminar presented a pilot project to consider encouraging a new approach to expanding the use of the E18 corridor, which runs from Oslo to St. Petersburg via Stockholm, Turku and Helsinki, and which is one of the most important routes between the EU and Russia. The objective is to develop a new operating model that will produce a new generation of motorway growth corridor, and which will more effectively benefit local residents, municipalities and business communities along the E18.
Visa free travel to Russia would create opportunities
In his speech at the event, the Mayor of Turku Aleksi Randell pointed out that Finnish know-how and service industry competitiveness can provide a unique stimulus to economic development. St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Turku and Stockholm’s economic, cultural and societal contact provide the driving force that can sustain the development of the whole of Northern Europe. It is also Finland's most important economic development direction.
– If visa free travel to Russia was realised the effect would be an explosive increase in the amount of traffic. Its effects on the infrastructure, service structures and regional economy of the whole E18 would be revolutionary, proclaimed Randell.
Competition for labour in Southern Finland
As the Helsinki metropolitan area strengthens and expands, the regional structure of the whole of Southern Finland will change.
– Increasing competition for labour, investment and tax revenues will force regions to specialise and network. Traffic flow, intelligence and environmental friendliness will be emphasised, declared Randell.
The E18 Growth Corridor project naturally engages the cities of Turku and Helsinki and has already been initiated by the Stockholm-Turku-Helsinki-St Petersburg development corridor process. The objective of that is to concretise the project from a Northern Europe perspective by emphasising the significance and potential of this connection.
In his speech, Randell confirmed that the City of Turku is prepared to participate in a central role in the project’s design and implementation in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, other ministries, other cities, commerce and other stakeholders.
According to Randell, potential sub-projects include, for example, coordinating cooperation within the Baltic Sea region, renewable energy and logistics solutions as success factors for the coastal regions, cooperation on worklife, housing, sports and leisure, plus tourism and the cultural industries.
– The Development Corridor must become a political priority at both national and EU level. It is essential that both the state and the cities have an equally strong will to form and strengthen this as a long-term project. This will require concrete action in order to move forward, acknowledged Randell .