António Pires de Lima speaking on Antena 1

Motorway tolls face “significant increase” in 2023

… unless government acts – Brisa president

Motorway tolls face a “significant increase” from January next year unless the government acts, Brisa (motorway concession) president António Pires de Lima has told Antena 1 in a wide-ranging interview.

A former minister of the economy (2013-2015: PSD/CDS/PP coalition)  – and current president of the Business Council for Sustainable Development – Pires de Lima said government actions do not have to be in the form of financial subsidies to offset increases; they could be by way of ‘giving time’ to the situation which, if not addressed, will see charges put up in line with inflation as it stands in October.

Lobbing a number of balls into the government’s court, Pires de Lima suggested that a lot more needs to be done to ‘accelerate energetic transition’ – arguing that incentives to persuade drivers to ditch diesel/ petrol vehicles for electric has to involve the rolling out of a much larger network of charging points.

Without this kind of pro-active strategy, vehicle transition could take a lot longer, he warned.

Incentives combined with a wide network of charging points could make “road mobility environment friendly in four to five years”, while the government’s “current speed will take 14 or 15 years…

The former CDS/PP minister (he left the party in disgust before January’s elections, in which the CDS/PP lost every seat it had) gave suggestions on how to encourage businesses towards energetic transition: part of the business IRC tax (on profits) could be substituted by a tax on the environmental impact of businesses – in other words a business with a carbon neutral ethos would not be penalised, while those not making enough efforts towards the green agenda would find themselves with a higher tax bill.

But the bottom line of the conversation with Negocios online/ Antena 1 was that the government has to be “open to finding a mechanism” to stem motorway toll increases, or next year will see another nasty shock for beleaguered citizens already beset from every direction by the rising cost of living.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com