By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]
A protest group opposed to the introduction of tolls on the Algarve’s A22 delivered a 14,000 signature petition to the government on Wednesday.
It was presented by the Comissão de Utentes da A22, the commission of A22 users, to the President of Parliament, Jaime Gama.
Left-wing politician João Vasconcelos, who set up the Comissão, told the Algarve Resident on Wednesday lunchtime: “The petition was delivered and now we are going to wait for a meeting with the Government to discuss our position against the tolls on the A22. We are hoping that our request is approved.”
He said the organisation will meet shortly with the Public Works Committee and parliamentary political parties to search for a solution and to fight against the introduction of tolls in the region’s motorway.
The commission of users has also scheduled a protest this month from the bridge over the Guadiana River near the Spanish border in Vila Real de Santo António, which will also be supported by drivers from Andalusia, Spain.
The organisation also intends to organise a debate in the region, entitled As portagens na Via Infante e o seu impacto no Algarve (Tolls on the Via Infante and their impact on the Algarve), to which various personalities and regional politicians will be invited.
It is also preparing a dossier about the impact of tolls on the region to be sent to national and European courts.
The implementation date for the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante is April 15 but the Government wants to bring it forward.
Portimão Mayor Manuel da Luz said: “We are fighting against the tolls, which will seriously affect the Algarve.” He added that the Algarve has a different economic reality from other regions in the country.
“We are a tourist region. The majority of tourists visiting the Algarve nowadays are coming from Spain and tolls will mean the Algarve stands to lose this new wave of tourists coming from our neighbouring country,” he said.
“Algarve mayors and citizens have to protest and find ways to fight the tolls and push back the Government with this decision.”
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