Slovak truckers blocked three border crossings with the Czech Republic on
Sunday night within wider protests around the country in support of road
The crossings Brodské-Břeclav, Holíč-Hodonín a Skalica-Sudomeřice are closed to trucks although passenger cars are being allowed through.
The blockade is expected to extend to a number of other crossings with the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary in the course of the day.
The Union of Slovak Truckers wants the government to lower the road tax truckers have to pay to do business by 50% and to suspend the highway toll system until the dispute is resolved.
The government has said it is willing to cut the road toll by 12.5%.
Czech traffic police have advised drivers to avoid the blocked crossings if at all possible.
Last year 547 people died in road accidents in the Czech Republic, deputy
police president Martin Vondrášek said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The figure was 18 lower than for 2018 and was the third lowest since 1961.
The number of people seriously injured in traffic accidents fell by 355 year-on-year to 2,110 in 2019, which was the lowest number recorded to date.
There was a decline in road deaths in the Czech Republic in 2019, according
to preliminary police figures cited by the Czech News Agency. Some 550
people died in traffic accidents last year, 15 fewer than in 2018. However,
the figure for last year was still higher than in 2016 or 2017.
The worst month for road deaths in this country in 2019 was August, with 62. January saw the fewest, with 25.
Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Arriva, which secured a contract to operate four
express rail lines in the Czech Republic, is to be fined for a series of
problems in the Liberec region.
Arriva started operating at the start of December but its trains have been running late and the company also has problems with the check-in system.
The regional management says that unless everything is running smoothly by mid-January at the latest it will consider withdrawing from the contract.
The 45-million-euro contract covers four lines from Prague to the cities of Tanvald, Novy Bor, Rakovnik and Ceske Budejovice.
Under the contract Arriva will operate the lines for three years, with the option to extend the contract by a further two years.
The Czech motorway network was extended by 33 kilometres this year,
according to the Ministry of Transport.
This is a significant improvement on 2018 which only saw four kilometres of new roads constructed.
New highway projects slated for 2020 envisage 21 kilometres of new highways being opened.
The cabinet has come under severe criticism for the slow pace of infrastructure construction, most recently from President Miloš Zeman.
The Czech Republic’s rail companies are planning to make major investments in the coming years, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday. The biggest operator, Czech Railways, is at present running a number of competitions to supply it with tens of new wagons and locomotives and will invest up to CZK 40 billion in the next five years, while RegioJet and other service providers aim to spend several billion crowns in a three-year period.
Referred to as a key document, the government’s National Investment Plan has been years in the making. On Monday, the long awaited concept was finally unveiled. It counts on some CZK 8 trillion being spent by 2050 on investments in all branches of state infrastructure. The prime minister says it could help in EU funding negotiations with Brussels. However, the opposition has mocked it as a simple wish list with no clear implementation strategy.
The new European Space Agency will be based in Prague from 2021 onwards,
the Czech Ministry of Transport announced on Wednesday.
The agency will be created by extending the existing European GNSS Agency (GSA), which is already based in the Czech capital. It is currently mainly responsible for operating the Galileo satellite navigation system and employs 100 people.
The new agency – the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) – will employ approximately 700 people. Apart from developing satellite telecommunications it will monitor the nearby surroundings of the Earth.
The EUSPA will also manage of Copernicus which, along with Galileo, have become global references in satellite positioning and earth observation, and the governmental satellite communications initiative Govsatcom.
Nearly one in four vehicles on Czech roads exceeds permitted emissions limits, an inspection carried out by the ministries of transport and environment this summer suggest. The alarming figures, presented this week, come nearly a year after the introduction of stricter rules in emissions testing for vehicles.
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