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A22 tolls

Dear Editor,

The government’s finances are in ‘an unbearable state’ according to Snr. Macário.

First question: whose fault is that? Locate the faulty party/ies. Then ask how they created the ‘unbearable’ state. Then hold them to account!

I know that this will not happen. There is no political set up capable to enforce this sort of action. The said ‘state’ has been kicked down the road by parties and politicians who seem unable to keep account.

If a country of this size, 10 odd million, around the size of London, cannot keep account, why should the populace pay the political classes for their privileged inabilities through tolls?

Even with the tolls money, who can guarantee that accounts will then be kept properly? Will not more smoke and mirrors be used to squeeze more money from the private sector? Remove all perks….the Mercedes/BMW’s and chauffeurs, and get Ministers and their assistants to use public transport as their part of the austerity programme.

No chance! Less government ‘efficiency’ is prejudiced!

So ‘Joe public’ can vote with its feet, and use the country roads. I shall.

Geoffrey Swain, By email

Dear Editor,

I feel bound to respond to your report in last week’s paper regarding Sr Macário Correia’s comments about the A22 toll road.

In my opinion, Sr Correia has made a complete U turn on his position. Portugal has faced “grave financial circumstances” for the last few years – not simply since the recent Government came into power.

I am not ignorant enough not to realise that additional funds are urgently required, however, surely an all round better solution is available.

The public have been given no figures regarding the cost of building the many overhead cameras placed periodically along the A22, nor the anticipated continuing costs to ensure that the toll fees are collected. I fear it will take many years to simply break even.

Would it be too obvious to instead increase the road tax for all vehicles? There would be none of the cost as mentioned above.

With a 100% increase of road tax, drivers with smaller more moderate vehicles (whose road tax is often under €40 per annum) would rightly not be as financially inconvenienced compared to larger vehicle owners who would be expected to pay considerably more.

I believe the investment to implement these increases would be minimal (Note: I currently pay €250 per annum and would not question this rising to €500).

Being in the removal/transport business here in Portugal for over 15 years, I am all too aware that many more people, including Portuguese nationals, are leaving the Algarve than ever before. These tolls, if implemented, will no doubt add to these numbers and of course discourage the number of tourists coming to the Algarve who are crucial to the Algarve’s survival.

It is foolish to think that drivers will continue to use the A22 should it become a toll road. Inevitably, the EN125 will become the road of preference, which will doubtless become a threat to human life as it was pre A22 many years ago, thus putting a strain on other government services such as Emergency and Hospitals etc.

On a final note, let’s not forget that it was only in the early 90s that the EN125 was noted as being the road with the second highest fatalities in Europe after the main Spanish Malaga coast road….


Dear Editor,

I am surprised that the new government IS tolling the A22 and therefore missing a political point. By NOT tolling the road, they would be saying to the Algarve, ‘we recognise your needs, the importance as the sole main industry of tourism to you, we care, the last government did not, so no tolls’.

On a political point only, the government will be seeking re-election before the present debt crisis is resolved! There are of course many other reasons not to toll this road, but was the Mayor of Faro right, it’s to save money? Will it, if traffic goes down and costs on the EN 125, surface damage, accidents etc, go up?

But let’s return to tourism. In the July 22 issue, there is a story about the dependency of hotels on non-Portuguese. ALL research backs the facts, views that the Algarve is mainly dependent on these visitors and those who buy property here.

Compared with Portuguese visitors, they spend more, stay longer and visit more often. We simply cannot manage without them but many cannot see this, especially politicians. In the last few weeks, I have seen an advert for the Allgarve programme, in your paper, all in Portuguese.

A concert programme for the summer on the Strip in Albufeira, all in Portuguese.

The same at Lagoa, Portimão etc., and two festivals, aimed at tourists, in Silves – all in Portuguese.

Why can’t we realise how important these overseas tourists are to us? Let’s be honest, mature and face facts not desires for the comforts of the past, of myths. But is anyone listening, reading this, especially politicians? No, so the A22 tolling etc. and the damage it will all do to us will go on.