Timo P. Nieminen, The Mayor of Tampere, and Aleksi Randell, the Mayor of Turku, expect a great deal from the collaboration between the cities on the design and acquisition of light rail networks: “The design cooperation is a historically significant, concrete way of cooperating between two major cities,” says Randell.
One large project is stronger than two small projects
Turku and Tampere to cooperate on the design of a light rail system
The cities of Turku and Tampere, have agreed to cooperate on the design of light rail projects for their cities. Aleksi Randell, Mayor of Turku, and Timo P. Nieminen, Mayor of Tampere, announced on Thursday, 3 May in Tampere.
Turku and Tampere are having general master plans made for an urban light rail network project. The master plan is divided into Tampere and Turku’s own parts as well as to the jointly executed part. The master plan includes definitions and guidelines as well as land use plans.
The work is phased in such a way that at the end of the first phase the cities will have chosen the light rail routes that will form the base for future work on the project. Currently, both cities are considering alternative routes, which are being evaluated in order to assess their feasibility.
State funding expected
The funding and implementation model will also be clarified through cooperation. Aleksi Randell, and Timo P. Nieminen are of the opinion that the Finnish state's subsidy for the project must be higher. The current government’s transport policy reports that the state’s share is set to be 30 percent.
– The aim is for at least 50 percent state support, which would be in line with support for the rail network in the metropolitan area. Two major cities investing in light rail networks is clearly an equally significant project, says Timo P. Nieminen.
– Finance is a challenging question. This is a long-term and an extensive project with many sub-projects. This is also a large regional policy project, which has many indirect effects on both the future of city, local and regional transport, adds Aleksi Randell.
Working together will benefit Turku and Tampere
According to Randell, the cooperation involves a complete change in planning policy.
– This is a completely new way to approach such a large project. The design cooperation is a historically significant, concrete way of cooperating between two major cities, says Randell.
– We are looking for more flexible ways of doing large-scale projects. Generally, when the state is involved so are a large number of bureaucratic bodies, resulting in a lot of red tape. Turku, Tampere, the metropolitan area and the Finnish state are thus seeking new forms of cooperation, observes Randell.
According to Tampere’s purchasing manager Risto Laaksonen, Turku and Tampere have already approached the state.
– The cooperation model has raised a great amount of interest. Papers have not yet been signed, but initially the state is committed to being involved in the planning, says Laaksonen.
The joint purchasing of carriages should produce savings
The projects have clear common elements, such as the carriages’ technical specifications. Having common specifications will help to achieve significant benefits, for example, when purchasing equipment.
– Thus, equipment procurement will certainly have a better than average chance of gaining discounts when two can speak with one voice, notes Timo P. Nieminen.
Although the work will be contracted together, Turku and Tampere’s differing requirements for the work can be distinguished into separate entities when necessary.
The planning of the documents, upon which the invitation to tender will be based, is in progress – and they should be published by end of June. The consultant will probably be known by autumn.
– The schedule for the work is still fully open, of course, but it is realistic to think that the tracks will be laid between 2015 and 2020. However, much depends on state funding, Randell reminds us.