Tuesday will see yet another debate on the future of the Algarve’s universally-loathed A22 motorway tolls. But this time – with a new government dependant on the goodwill of parties pushing for free use of the highway – there is real hope in the air.
“It is time to put an end to all the injustice,” claims the PCP (Communist Party), which has organised a series of pre-debate protest initiatives running throughout the region today (Monday).
Motions that aim to show without any shadow of doubt the damage that four-years of tolls have wreaked on the Algarve economy and road safety in general have been presented by both the PCP and Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc), whose representative for the Algarve, João Vasconcelos, is the power behind CUVI, the Algarve’s anti-tolls protest group.
CUVI has constantly produced data to show that death tolls on the free alternative road – the EN125 – have spiralled since tolls were brought in almost exactly four years ago by the previous government.
But more than that, the economy of the region has been hammered, along with commerce with Spain.
A protest involving Spanish traders is due to go ahead on the Guadiana Bridge tomorrow, as feelings this time sense political change could at last be in the air.
Said João Vasconcelos: “We believe that once the PS has read our data and proposals, they will vote in favour of abolition of the tolls.”
Today’s protest initiatives will be going ahead along the EN125 this evening in Vila Real de Santo António, Olhão, Albufeira and Portimão between the hours of 5pm to 6pm, reports Região Sul.