The Portuguese government has approved a proposal to reduce toll fees on Portugal’s ‘ex-SCUT’ highways, including the Algarve’s A22 motorway (also known as Via do Infante). The new fees will come into effect on July 1.
Toll costs are also due to be slashed on the A23, A24, A25, A28, Costa da Prata and Concessões do Grande Porto A41 and A42 motorways. Prices will be reduced by 50% for vehicles with combustion engines and 75% for electric and “non-polluting” vehicles.
The proposal was put forward by PSD and approved during the 2021 Stage Budget voting.
As Público newspaper highlights, the PS socialist government initially opposed the proposal, questioning its constitutionality.
Despite the initial opposition, the Minister of Territorial Cohesion finally confirmed on May 19 that the proposal would come into force on July 1.
Minister Ana Abrunhosa said she has “always defended the reduction of tolls” but believes it should be done “gradually, as the impact is strong”. The government is expecting the toll reduction to cost the State’s coffers around €160 million per year.
The minister also said that reducing fees involves “complex contractual matters” with the motorways’ concession and sub-concession companies.
Meanwhile, the measure has been praised by anti-toll groups although the general feeling amongst them is that this is still a “half measure”.
“What we defend is the complete and total abolishment of tolls on the A22 motorway, especially at a time of economic and social crises,” Algarve MP and long-time leader of anti-toll group CUVI, João Vasconcelos, told TSF radio.
“But it’s better than nothing, so it’s still a positive measure,” he said, adding that he will continue to fight against what he calls an “unfair” measure that affects the Algarve population and motorway users.