Recently there were in HBL various articles about a number of infrastructure projects – well, to be more exact it was always about projects for railway lines: one line to Kirkenes on the shore of the Polar Ocean, one via a tunnel to Tallinn, one via Lojo to Salo.
In all these cases there was hardly any discussion how (perhaps) to achieve the desired effects in less expensive ways. From where this silence? Of course there is the factor that our politicians do, as a rule, not know much about technology, and on the political Right (e.g. Kokoomus) there even seems to be some widespread belief that the government SHOULD not even think too much by itself about technology, but rather patiently wait that some well-established firms come up with proposals (which will give the firms a chance to earn, and the government a chance to take in taxes, just as things should be, or not?). The system just has that small fault that it can result in huge amounts being channeled into unnecessarily expensive projects while there is then not enough money left for other things. And the media seem to just love to write about projects which could swallow astronomical amounts (possibly because big amounts of money are considered more worth reporting about than small amounts …).
Well, would there be possibilities to do better? One thing would of course be to open up channels for a serious public discussion of such projects, meaning a discussion which is taken serious by the government (as letters to editors are seemingly NOT taken). WITH such discussions the project of that railway to Kirkenes would not live long (at least as long as the government would not come up with better reasons), as connecting up a railway line with the Murmansk railway would for several reasons be a better solution. And concerning that tunnel to Tallinn one just could point to the bankruptcy of the company which was building the tunnel between England and France (the decisive factor seems to be that the ferry lines between the countries did not/will not voluntarily stop their activities, leaving too few passengers for the tunnel). But these things have (as far as I remember) been discussed already earler and in more detail in this blog.
Which leaves the idea of a fast railway connection between Esbo and Salo via Lojo. If one looks at a map of Southern Finland one will begin to wonder greatly how the planners imagined crossing all those lakes between Esbo and Salo – by bridges, or embankments, and at what expense and what damage to the environment ??? In this case it would be MUCH better to take up my old proposal (which I initially brought up for the connection within Helsingfors between Kronohagen and Kronberget/Degerö), namely to take the Aerobus system (can be googled) and develop it further to make it fast enough for longer distances: the aerobus hangs from a rail which is supported by masts which are very far apart from each other; hills, valleys and lakes along the route can easily be taken care of by adjusting the height of the masts, the area crossed does not to be bought for a high price, and once one has acquired more experience with the system one can consider it for a connection Helsingfors-Tallinn (according to a map I came across the water is hardly ever deeper than 50 meters between the two), and also for very many other connections in Scandinavia (even to Germany). – But yes, from where to get a discussion which is taken serious by the government …