Business associations unite against tolls

BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS in the Algarve have released a statement warning the government that they are unified and ready to fight the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante (A22).

Elidérico Viegas, president of Associação dos Hotéis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve (AHETA), the Algarve hotels and resorts association, has said that the signatories contesting the intention to introduce tolls on the A22 are the same as those on the original petition sent to Durão Barroso’s government.

At the height of previous protests was a day in which a boycott of the A22 was staged, which resulted in the total clogging of the EN125. Algarve business owners were taken by surprise by recent comments made by the Ministers for Finance and Transport, understanding that they represent an intention by the government to go back on their word of not introducing tolls on the Via do Infante.

The business associations reiterate that the EN125 is no alternative to the A22 and that tolls would affect Algarve tourism, an industry that is currently responsible for generating 3.5 billion euros in income per year.

Vítor Neto, former Secretary of State for Tourism and current president of NERA, does not believe tolls will be introduced. “We will go to war, should it become necessary”, he says.