Government pledges balance on tolls

The Minister of Public Works, António Mexia, has said that the government will take into account the quality of alternative routes and the level of regional development when introducing tolls on motorways.

Mexia was speaking in parliament during a debate about the state budget. “We are working to find the most balanced solution possible,” said Mexia. He described the former Socialist government’s introduction of the SCUT scheme of free motorways as “unjust, unsustainable and non-viable”.

But Algarve Socialist deputy, José Apolinário, appealed to Mexia to change his position, saying: “The EN125 is not an alternative to SCUT.” During the debate, the minister also cited the investment that the government is going to make in the railway sector, claiming it represented an increase of around 60 per cent compared to 1998. António Mexia hailed this increase as “the biggest investment ever in Portugal”.