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Lower motorway tolls this Summer
Tourists that visit Portugal and use the car as a means of transport to travel across the country will be satisfied with the latest decisions of the Portuguese Parliament that decided to lower the cost of tolls on the old SCUT (formely unpaid motorways).
Tolls on previously unpaid motorways that had gantries erected on them back in 2011, amid widespread opposition, are set to be reduced in the summer, the government.
While no exact date has been set nor has the amount of the intended reduction been revealed, Algarve MPs from the ruling-Socialists have indicated that this drop could be in the region of 50 percent on current toll fees along the region’s A22 motorway.
The government explained this week that the cut is justified in that it will increase mobility and economic exchanges in disadvantaged areas in rural Portugal, but added that mainland Portugal’s second wealthiest region, the Algarve, will also benefit as it would be unfair to discriminate.
Preliminary analyses also indicate that by reducing tolls, more drivers would travel on these motorways and that the move could potentially come at very little cost to the taxpayer or actually prove profitable.
Pedro Marques, Minister for Planning and Infrastructure told Parliament on Tuesday that “we don’t have first and second class citizens, and as a result, toll reductions in the interior will only go ahead once the same can be enforced on all toll roads in question.”
The Minister further argued that “when there is a drop in toll fees, it has to be for all. If the [previous government] had not conducted a disastrous renegotiation with road management companies, then this reduction would have already been in place.”
Parliament has approved a proposal put forward by the Socialists to reduce tolls on previously unpaid motorways, including the Algarve’s A22.
Reductions or the elimination of tolls on the formerly free motorways were discussed in the Portuguese parliament on Friday.
Four years after the tolls were introduced on those roads, the Communists and Left Bloc wanted the charges to be removed, while the Socialists and Popular Party said the tolls should be reduced. The Social democrats, who were responsible for starting these tolls, simply said the toll gantries may be relocated.
The Socialists are against the abolition of the tolls because “it is absolutely imperative and necessary to make sure the budget remains balanced”.
“Unfortunately, that still remains a long way off. What we propose is that there is a trend to give back the rights drivers had in the past, before the tolls were introduced” he said.
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