One of the priorities of the vision of Kuopio is to be a centre of influence for one million people. The city is easy and safe to reach and travel times are predictable. It is important to ensure the development of national road 5, the overall standard of rail connections and the development of the airport as one of the main airports of our country.
The conditions of main roads should be maintained so that their speeds can remain comparable. National road 5 is a kind of channel of growth and highly significant for the entire province and eastern Finland as a whole. Its development into a continuous route with a year-round speed limit of 100 km/h will intensify cooperation all along the road between Varkaus and Iisalmi and boost the efficiency of public economy. National road 5 also has a wide impact on the competitive strength of businesses, affecting companies regardless of their operating sector or size.
Safety and predictability are also factors to consider in road traffic. In terms of logistics, it is crucial that the capacity of the road is sufficient and no waiting times are needed. In addition, fuel costs will fall if road quality improves.
The projected eastern rail connection to Helsinki via Kouvola and Porvoo is the common goal of seven provincial centres. The eastern rail connection affects one million people in Finland alone and, if realized, it will affect the lives, transactions and business relations of roughly seven million people in total, St. Petersburg included. The eastern rail connection will bring security to the development of Eastern Finland and give it a boost for decades to come. Kuopio and Eastern Finland are not the only areas to benefit from it, but Finland as a whole will enjoy its benefits.
The eastern rail connection is also an equality issue in terms of the vitality and competitiveness of different regions. For instance, you can reach the capital city from Seinäjoki in about 2.5 hours, but the journey from Kuopio takes about four hours.
For the sake of traffic safety and climate policy, it is important that measures are undertaken to speed up the existing rail link, in addition to developing the eastern rail connection. Sufficient rail capacity is key not only for passenger traffic, but also for freight transport. The capacity of the Savo railway line has decreased. The risk of having to increase road transport volumes is apparent if the line cannot accommodate all the traffic that is desired.
The coronavirus epidemic (Covid-19) has also posed challenges for air transport. At the moment, the aim is to return the flight duty offering to pre-corona levels. During the pre-corona period, the number of available flights is good: It is possible to fly on a business trip from Kuopio to Europe and return on the same day. However, Kuopio needs more operators in air traffic, which would have a positive impact on the price level.