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Housing, transport get support in 5.5bn supplementary budget

More details of the government's supplementary budget were revealed at a press conference on Wednesday.

Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen, transport minister Timo Harakka and environment minister Krista Mikkonen at the press conference on Wednesday. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Sustainable, affordable housing and improved urban transport will be a major focus of the newly-announced 5.5 billion euro supplementary budget, the government said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The government announced it plans to invest 930 million euros in the land use, housing and transport (MAL) agreements that were negotiated between the state and the four largest urban areas — Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Oulu regions.

This is the largest single investment of its kind to date. Cities will also invest further sums of hundreds of millions of euros in the development of their own areas.

In the future, the urban areas of Lahti, Jyväskylä and Kuopio will also be included in the MAL agreement.

The aim of the supplemental budget is to get Finland back on its feet, accelerate growth and make the country stronger post-pandemic.

Focus on sustainable public transport

The ministers also announced that the budget will support the production of affordable housing and transport projects that are as sustainable as possible.

Transport and Communication minister Timo Harakka said the aim is to promote environmentally-friendly mobility by focussing on the development of municipal transport and high-speed rail projects within and between urban areas.

On Tuesday, Harakka tweeted that the government's supplementary budget will for instance, allocate money to the Espoo city rail, the one-hour train to Turku and the Vihdintie light rail project in Helsinki, among other projects around the capital area and in Tampere.

In addition, the minister said efforts will be made to digitise public transport and design sustainable transport.

To this end, the government is proposing funding for many waterway projects and also to promote walking and cycling, according to a transport ministry release.

In total, the state's investment in transport projects will be just over 750 million euros.

New design museum in Helsinki

Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen announced that the supplementary budget will fund a new Museum of Architecture and Design.

Kosonen said she hopes that the new museum will be built of wood in accordance with sustainable principles, and that it will draw in a lot of visitors and create jobs.

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