Plot thickens over Prague D Metro line as city considers forced buy outs

Visualisation of Nemocnice Krč station, source: archive of Prague’s Public Transport Company

The City of Prague is having trouble reaching agreements with property owners in buying up land needed for a planned 10.6 kilometres stretch needed for the construction of a new metro line, line “D”, according to Lidové noviny. The daily reported that of some 800 plots needed, the city had so far had reached deals to buy in only around 15 cases. The deputy mayor overseeing transport has suggested that if agreements can be reached, the properties could be expropriated.

Visualisation of Nemocnice Krč station,  source: archive of Prague’s Public Transport Company
The clock is ticking for construction to begin on the Prague Metro’s new D line but daily Lidové noviny writes that so far the project has barely moved ahead. When it comes to securing around 800 plots of land needed, deals on only some 15 have been reached. The first ground on the initial section between Pankrác and the planned Depo Písnice, is to be broken in 2018; unless things don’t move ahead rapidly, the city could have little choice but to resort to drastic measures: namely the expropriation or forced buyout of the property for the public project.

Owners may be unhappy with the rates offered under existing rules, but it may be as good as it gets. Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek, interviewed by the newspaper, admitted that the city could take the measures in compliance with existing legislation while Prague’s Public Transport Company confirmed for the daily that a special law on property expropriation could be applied in such cases.

The spokesman for City Hall, Vít Hofman, doesn’t see the situation as quite as bleak; he is quoted in Lidové noviny as saying there had been progress in areas, although negotiations were “difficult”. Meanwhile, the daily writes, Prague City Hall and officials at the Transport Ministry are looking into the possibility of reaching construction permits even before all agreements are finalized and needed land bought, in order to speed the process up.

But even other hurdles remain: not all construction planning for the new metro are complete; also, existing legislation has to be amended to allow for the first ‘driverless’ metro train in the Czech Republic. Last but not least, it has to be worked out how much the project could still benefit from European monies in the Transport Fund.