News

 

Watchdogs slam pace of Czech motorway construction, as bookies take bets on transport minister’s ousting

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš boasts that his government has achieved an unprecedented level of investment and motorway construction. Meanwhile, a survey by domestic watchdog Hlídač státu has underscored the sluggish pace of that construction over the past 15 years compared to that of comparable EU member states.

 
 

Poland and Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria – all of these formerly communist, relatively “new” EU member states have built more kilometres of motorways, crucial to long-term economic growth, than has the Czech Republic.

This according to an analysis of data from the EU statistical arm, Eurostat, carried out by the Czech group Hlídač státu (State Watchdog), which specialises in crunching numbers – open source data – to monitor public spending and administration, political donations and the like.

Michal Bláha, founder of the watchdog project, says only 300 kilometres of new motorways have been built in the Czech Republic since the year 2000 – roughly one-fifth of what Hungary has managed. Last year, according to this country’s Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ), only 4 kilometres of new motorways were built.

“It is true that the Hungarians, for example, initially had a shorter motorway network than we did. But the pace they and others have achieved is quite high. The differences are huge. Countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia have made minimal progress, and in absolute numbers the differences are truly enormous."

The analysis by Hlídač státu comes on the heels of an interview by Minister of Transport Dan Ťok in which he claimed that at no point since the Velvet Revolution has there been such rapid and sufficient construction. It would take a “real superman” to achieve more, he told the news site iDnes.cz.

There are currently 1,261 kilometres of motorways in operation. Work on the country’s biggest, the D1, has been best by delays, which Mr Ťok has blamed – to much derision – on early snows. The planned network of 2,073 kilometres will likely not be finished until 2050, i.e. in more than 30 years, according to Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) spokesman Václav Kešner.

“The main reason for the slow pace of the construction of motorways in the Czech Republic has been problems in preparing construction projects. These problems related mainly to getting the necessary planning and building permits, as well to securing a favourable opinion on the Environmental Impact Assessment. The process takes on average 13 years.”

Prime Minister Babiš insists real progress has been made and it’s all rather a question of optics – that his minister of transport has failed to make the case to the public and furthermore been too soft on his subordinates to get the job done faster.

Following that public dressing down of Mr Ťok in early January, bookmakers began offering odds on when Mr Babiš will name a replacement.

Meanwhile, the embattled Mr Ťok says the most important motorways could be ready within a mere 12 years. In other words, a year earlier it takes on average to greenlight a project, according to the Supreme Audit Office.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 15.01.2019
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

More than 60 percent of Czechs...

More than 60 percent of Czechs believe the decision to join the European Union nearly 15 years ago was...

 
 
News
 
 

Justice minister‘s resignation raises...

The unexpected resignation of Justice Minister Jan Kněžínek late last week, coming just one day after...

 
 
News
 
 

RSF: Czech oligarchs, nation’s...

The Czech Republic has dropped another six spots in the annual global ranking of press freedom published...

 
 
News
 
 

Czech prime minister says efforts to...

Police investigators have proposed pressing charges against Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and several...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity