Motorists will have to start paying toll charges to use the Algarve’s A22 motorway from Thursday next week (December 8).
A decree-law enabling the tolls to be introduced was passed by president of the republic, Aníbal Cavaco Silva and published today (Monday) on the presidential website and by the Diario da Republica.
According to the decree-law guidelines, there will be “positive discrimination” in favour of local people and businesses.
For a limited period of time, legally registered residents will be exempt from charges for the first 10 transactions per month, after which there will be a 15% reduction in fees for each transaction.
Motorists are urged to keep their residency status updated in order to apply for these discounts, which will not apply to tourists or part-time foreign residents.
Many public protests over the past year against the tolls in the region have been organised by the group Portagens na A22 Nao led by the A22 Users Commission leader João Vasconcelos.
There has also been a petition raised in opposition to the charges, supported by nine entities based in the Algarve, who argue that there are no alternative routes for drivers to use, that tolls will increase the number of accidents on the N125 and damage the Algarve economy.
It is understood that the exemptions and discounts for legally registered residents will be in effect until June 30, 2012, after which they will only apply to areas which have a GDP per capita of less than 80% of the national average.