“We did something very wrong. We had no right…”
PS secretary general Pedro Nuno Santos pledged in Porto to eliminate all tolls on former SCUT highways in the interior of the country and in the Algarve.
He told a meeting in which the party’s electoral programme was under debate: “We did something very wrong to a large part of the country. We did not have this right. We have to restore justice and respect for people who live and work in the interior of the country”, he said.
It is a pledge, and admission, that up till now the Socialist Party has balked at.
Tolls on former SCUT highways have always been illegal, yet no government up to this point has fully acknowledged this reality.
Only three months ago, minister for territorial cohesion Ana Abrunhosa said that an end to these tolls – considered illegal by the European Commission in 2012 (!) – is “increasingly further from being a possibility” – thus it is a ‘very big deal’ that the leader of the party is now promising to do just that.
Pedro Nuno Santos told the Forúm Portugal Inteiro yesterday: “Over the years we have made an effort to reduce tolls. We are not going to reduce tolls in the interior any further. We are going to eliminate tolls in the interior of the country and in the Algarve”.
Reporting on the speech Lusa did not remark as to whether there was rapturous applause following this pledge – but it is exactly what civic groups up and down the country have been campaigning for for years (without success).
Lusa stresses that “according to the PS secretary general, at issue are the A4, A22 (Algarve), A23, A24 and A25”.
Thus, there it is ‘in black and white’.
There is no time line given, however – and Portugal is in the throes of an election campaign with every party promising all kinds of marvellous changes. ND