The Minister for Transport claims that road usage tolls are a tendency in advanced countries
Just hours before the end of toll charges on another 477 kilometres of Spanish motorways, Raquel Sánchez, the new Minister for Transport, has confirmed in an interview published by national newspaper La Vanguardia that the government is already considering the introduction of a new payment system by which those contaminating the atmosphere could be made to pay.
Sra Sánchez claims that this is “a tendency in advanced countries” and that introducing tariffs on the road system is entirely justifiable both in environmental terms and in the light of promises made by Spain to the EU to introduce means by which to reduce the national deficit. The introduction of the hypothetical new system, she says, would free up a sizeable part of the budget to attend to other needs, while also stating that the percentage of the Spanish main road network which is currently subject to tolls is among the lowest in Europe at 15 per cent.
The stretches of motorway on which toll charges are to be removed on September 1 are the AP-7 between Tarragona in Catalunya and La Junquera on the border with France and the AP-2 between Zaragoza and El Vendrell in the province of Tarragona. The decision not to renew the management concession on the first of these two means that it is now possible for motorway drivers to reach France from the Region of Murcia without using any toll motorways.
A total of 1,029 kilometres of motorway have now been “liberated” from tolls in the last three years, saving motorists around 1,400 million euros per year, but Sra Sánchez underlines the fact that this is not a free gift from the government. The intention, she says, is to design a new scheme based on the principles of “territorial equality, road safety and environmental sustainability” and to bring it into force by 2024.
In the past it has been mooted that the government could be considering a uniform toll rate of 1 cent per kilometre: this would mean that the motorway journey from Madrid to Valencia would cost approximately 3.60 euros, while the journey from Murcia to the border with France, which becomes free on Wednesday, would cost 7.33 euros.
Image: Google Street View
Source: Murcia Today