November saw the release of an annual government-commissioned report on the state of the environment in the Czech Republic. While the gist of the report maintained that a number of factors continued to improve, including water quality and canalisation, air quality was found to be a major problem. It found that in 2013, 55 percent of Czechs were still being exposed to above-average levels of the toxic chemical benzopyrene. Additionally, many cities suffer from smog and ground level ozone, while heating plants were found to account for 41 percent
President Miloš Zeman will appoint Dan Ťok transport minister on December 4. Mr Ťok, who has served as CEO of Skanska, one the country’s biggest construction firms, confirmed the news after an hour-long meeting with the president on Tuesday. Dan Ťok was nominated by the ANO party to replace Antonín Prachař who resigned last week. His nomination has already been approved by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
A decision is looming on the selection of an operator for a controversial truck toll system which has already come under heavy fire for excessive costs and disappointing returns to the state coffers. The decision will be under the spotlight as the next transport minister tries to grapple with an apparently dysfunctional roads and highways directorate.
The opening of Prague’s newly completed tunnel Blanka originally scheduled for December 2nd will have to be postponed due to a slide in the schedule of the final technology tests, according to Prague mayor designate Adriana Krnáčová. Ms. Krnáčová, who is due to take over the city’s administration in the coming weeks, told Radio Impuls that March now appeared to be a realistic date for the tunnel’s opening. The series of final technology tests started last Friday and according to the contract signed are to last for a period of 55 days. The outgoing city council has urged the firm undertaking them to speed up the procedure but the company says this would be a safety hazard.
Antonín Prachař of ANO has resigned as minister of transport, the party’s leader Andrej Babiš announced on Wednesday morning. The move comes in the wake of extensive criticism, including from within ANO, over Mr. Prachař’s handling of both personnel matters and road-building projects. He is set to be replaced by the head of a major construction firm.
Antonín Prachař has resigned as minister of transport, the head of his ANO party, Andrej Babiš, announced on Wednesday. Mr. Prachař becomes the second member of the Social Democrats-led cabinet to leave office after Věra Jourová, who became a European commissioner. Mr. Babiš said he would nominate as his replacement Dan Ťok, who works for the company Skanska and is active in the American Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Prachař had been criticised both by his own party chief and the Social Democrats’ Bohuslav Sobotka.
The opening of Prague’s newly completed tunnel Blanka scheduled for December 2nd may have to be postponed due to a slide in the schedule of the final technology tests, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reports. The paper says that while the city council has not yet announced a delay, the tests started on Friday and according to the contract signed are to last for a period of 55 days. The city’s former mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has criticized the new city council for having dragged its feet on issuing a public tender for the company which would undertake the tests. Deputy mayor Jiří Nouza told the daily that the company in question was working around-the-clock to try to meet the deadline.
The US firm Uber launched its uberPop car-sharing service in Prague on Wednesday. The service enables users to get rides from drivers who are not licenced as professional taxi drivers. However, a spokesman for the Transportation Ministry said the uberPop service is most likely in conflict which Czech law. Uber launched its flagship taxi service in Prague in August.
Anyone making use of the country’s major highways and roads this summer will have likely noticed – and possibly suffered long delays because of – ongoing and extensive renovation projects. The D1 highway, among the most in need of repair and reconstruction, including lanes and spanning bridges, was the most notable case in point. It should not come as a surprise that the overhaul of that and other routes has led to a rise in expenses: one-quarter according to the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic.