Commission of users of A22 to fight tolls

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Local residents, business owners and politicians from across the region have set up a group, Comissão de Utentes, to fight the introduction of tolls on the A22 road, Via do Infante.

Members hope to have the group officially formalised within a month. The first meeting of the group was on September 20 in Loulé, when committee members were elected.

This initiative is being led by the coordinator of the Algarve Bloco de Esquerda, left wing political party, João Vasconcelos, who told Barlavento newspaper: “Despite  political forces being able to join the movement, we want essentially to ensure the support of Algarve residents as this is not a political party.”

He added: “We feel that there is a sense of revolt among Algarve residents about this situation. There is already a page created on Facebook called Não queremos portagens na A22 Via do Infante (We do not want tolls on the A22, Via do Infante), which already has more than 12,000 members.”

In the coming weeks, the group of Via do Infante users hopes to have its own webpage up and running and hopes to create offices in each municipality of the Algarve.

According to João Vasconcelos, “reclassified or not, the EN 125 road will never be an alternative to the Via do Infante.”

He added: “The introduction of tolls will further weaken the financial situation of small and medium sized business (SMEs) in the Algarve and will result in a worsening of the regional unemployment.”

Meanwhile, there are dozens of Spanish doctors who travel every week from Andalusia, Spain, to the Algarve to work.

Some admitted that they will have to leave their job in the region because of the introduction of tolls on the Via Infante.

After months of deadlock, the decision to charge tolls on SCUT roads was formalised on September 9.

The tolls are set to be introduced at Via do Infante on April 15, 2011.