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Conflicting reports over Algarve’s A22 toll reduction

Portuguese media has been buzzing this morning with conflicting stories about when the price of tolls on Portugal’s formerly-free motorways – including the Algarve’s A22 – will be lowered.

Jornal de Notícias started the frenzy, saying the government has stalled the reductions which almost certainly will not be implemented this summer, as originally promised (click here).

“It is impossible to set a date (for the price reductions),” a source from the Ministry of Planning told JN.

The source added that the “price reductions will only happen when there are conditions to implement them all at the same time”.

Similar stories were mimicked by other news sources shortly after, but now breaking news website Notícias ao Minuto has released an article saying the much-anticipated reductions are coming “soon” this summer.

A source from the same ministry is quoted as saying: “The government is negotiating with the concessionaire in charge of the A23. The negotiations are going well and the discounts should be implemented soon.”

The common ground in both stories is there is no set date for the promised price reduction to be implemented – and the summer is now entering its busiest period.

Lowering toll prices on Portugal’s formerly-free motorways is a promise made multiple times by the current socialist government.

Apparently, the only thing stalling the reduction are the state’s negotiations with Scutvias, the concession company in charge of the A23 motorway linking Torres Novas to Guarda in the north of Portugal.

Scutvias is the only concession business in Portugal that makes money directly from the tolls.

In other words, the government will have to find a way to convince Scutvias to lower its prices – and possibly find a way to compensate the company for its losses.

But according to a Público report this week, Scutvias claims negotiations with the government have not even started.

And as the socialist administration wants to implement toll reductions all at once, places like the Algarve will only enjoy lower tolls once the A23 negotiations are completed.

Meantime, how large the price reduction will be has not yet been announced.

Algarve retailers’ association has already released a statement fearing it might just be a 15% reduction (click here).

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com