Abrunhosa stressed that the interior "has very high context costs" and that the A22, also known as Via do Infante, is a faster and safer alternative to the national road 125, "which passes through the villages" on the Algarve coast, linking Vila do Bispo to Vila Real de Santo António.

"We have to continue to reduce tolls, but with priority for the A22 and the interior," he stressed.

Questioned by the Lusa news agency, the Minister for Territorial Cohesion was speaking about the 50 percent reduction in toll rates on the old toll-free roads (SCUT), as of Thursday, 1 July, in compliance with a measure enshrined in the State Budget (OE) for 2021, at the time of its approval by the Assembly of the Republic.

"The government has to comply with the law," she told reporters as she left the São Francisco Convent in Coimbra after attending a meeting of the Centre Regional Council, led by Paulo Fernandes, social-democrat mayor of Fundão.

Abrunhosa said, however, that this reduction in tolls "has a very high impact" on the State Budget.

"It has always been a goal of the Government to gradually reduce tolls," she stressed.

On 17 June, the Council of Ministers approved a 50 percent reduction in tolls on the old SCUTs as of 1 July, as had been set out by parliament when it approved the State Budget for this year.

The halving of tolls on each section and subsection covers the A22-Algarve, A23 - IP, A23 - Beira Interior, A24 - Interior Norte, A25 - Beiras Litoral e Alta, A28 - Norte Litoral, Greater Porto concessions (A41 and A42) and Costa da Prata.