Parliament says no to the end of tolls

By Brendan de Beer, in News · 14-02-2019 09:50:00 · 1 Comments
Parliament says no to the end of tolls

Parliament has rejected proposals by the Communist Party, the Left Bloc and the Greens who all called for the elimination of tolls on previously free motorways, including the A22 in the Algarve.

MPs were asked to vote simultaneously on three proposals, which called for tolls to be done away with on the Algarve’s only motorway.


The PSD Social Democrats and the CDS-PP abstained, while the ruling Socialist Party saw their MPs vote against, except for nine MPs, eight of whom are elected in the Algarve, who all backed the proposals to make the A22 motorway free to its users once more.


But with the votes on the other three motorways, Socialist MPs who had voted in favour of the abolition of tolls in the Algarve all voted against the proposals presented, following the example set by their colleagues in these regions, who had earlier opposed tolls being eliminated in southern Portugal.


This feature of the voting was sternly criticised by the Algarve branch of the PSD who lashed out at what they termed the “hypocrisy” of the leftist alliance which allows the Socialists to govern.


According to the PSD, if the Communists and the Left Bloc were truly serious about eliminating tolls, they would have demanded this during negotiations before approving the Socialist government’s budget, which makes provision for revenue obtained from tolls on the A22, A23, A24 and A25 motorways.


But speaking following the voting, Left Bloc MP João Vasconcelos said his party had voted in favour of all proposals to do away with tolls on the four motorways.


“This is now the ninth occasion that the Left Bloc has presented a proposal to abolish tolls in the Algarve and they have always been blocked by the remaining parties”, said Vaconcelos, adding: “The only alternative to the A22 motorway is the EN125, which is the road of death, as it is the road with the most black spots.”


He also called on Prime Minister António Costa to keep a pre-election promise he made in 2015.
A month before being elected Prime Minister, António Costa referred to the EN125 as “a massacre” and a “cemetery” due to an increase in traffic on this road and a drop on the A22.


António Costa told reporters at the time that his party “had already stated that it is necessary to re-evaluate the contractual obligations the state has assumed”, adding that one of his party’s priorities was to go one step further and “eliminate” tolls and “create better access routes” in the Algarve and in the countryside.


The current prime minister afterwards said that although he was not supportive of anti-toll protests, and while he was “unenthusiastic about eliminating tolls”, some situations were in urgent need of an overhaul, such as the A22 Via do Infante, which runs the length of the Algarve.


The closest the government came to appeasing motorists was after coming to power, it announced that tolls on these previously free motorways would be reduced by 15 percent.


Prior to the announcement, which many observers feared would not come into force, expectations were that discounts could be around 50 percent.


The government said at the time that the discounts are the result of “mitigating the effects tolls have had on exports and economic activities, such as the transport of merchandise.”


A study commissioned in 2015 and which was handed to the previous government in the spring, suggested that reducing tolls would actually generate revenue, with estimates pointing to a figure of 22 million euros.


The Socialist government had at the time explained that this study formed an integral part of their decision to lower tolls.
One of the biggest potential earners for the state in reducing tolls would be the Algarve’s A22 motorway, researchers revealed.
A cut of a mere 15 percent in tolls would see revenue climb by seven million euros, the study found.


Researchers added that even if reductions were to go up to 35 percent, the state would still collect more money from tolls than if it were to keep prices unchanged.



Comments:

You have all been silenced by your devious representatives? What will they think of next to remove any cash in your pockets?
Foreign registered cars need not worry as the present system is unable to find the true owners of cars 'caught' in this trap. They can drive up and down as they wish without paying for use. Locals however have not been smart enough to outwit this government's nasty trick of charging for what was once free.

by Big Bank from Algarve on 23-03-2019 10:47:00
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