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Transport Ministry proposes to expropriate for freeways

TRANSPORT Minister Ľubomír Vážny has a plan to speed up the construction of freeways in Slovakia, and has introduced the first in a series of promised draft laws to make the expropriation of land under freeway routes quicker and easier.

According to the proposal, the state freeways administration would be empowered to expropriate land even if it did not reach an agreement on compensation with the owners of the land. People who disputed such deals could take the state to court, but this would not prevent construction from beginning on their land. Critics of the draft say it represents a major violation of ownership rights.

Under the current system, landowners must agree to such deals before building offices can issue approval to the freeways administration to proceed. This requirement has slowed and in some cases halted the construction of freeways deemed important to developing the economies of isolated regions.

It is not clear whether the proposal will take effect in its current form, as the Transport Ministry has only recently submitted it to governmental review. The draft must still be approved by the government and parliament.

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