PM pledges to lower A22 tolls… certainly after elections

PM pledges to lower A22 tolls… certainly after elections

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has gone on record saying he plans to lower the price of tolls on the Algarve’s A22 highway if his party wins the upcoming elections. The statement came during an interview with regional online newspaper Sulinformação.

The PM did not say, however, how much cheaper the tolls would be, suggesting only that the price-drop will be “significant”.

Passos Coelho explained tolls had not been reduced sooner because the government has been renegotiating “many public-private partnerships (PPPs) relating to road concessions”.

“We felt it wasn’t appropriate,” he told the news service, adding that negotiations now are almost completed leaving the possibility to drop prices wide open.

Passos Coelho added that he “doesn’t know” if tolls could go down before the October 4 elections, but promises they will be afterwards, if his party gets back into power.

Passos Coelho was also quizzed on the Algarve’s infamous EN125, known locally as the ‘road of death’.

He agreed repair work has been much too slow, but told Sulinformação that it is considered a “priority” not only in order to “provide an alternative to the A22, but to increase the security conditions of the road, which has a very high and serious accident rate”.

His office later revealed that all ongoing renovations should be completed by 2016.

ACRAL celebrates the news
News that the A22 tolls could be lowered in the event of a PSD-CDS coalition win has been celebrated by ACRAL, the Algarve’s retailers association.

“We are very pleased with this decision, it is something we have defended for a long time,” said president Victor Guerreiro.

He added that cheaper tolls would “generate more revenue for the government, by encouraging increased traffic circulation”.

By the same token, he said he believes cheaper tolls would also create more “wealth and jobs” for the region.

Algarve socialists call Passos’ statements “sand in the eyes”
Meantime, Algarve socialists have released a statement calling for the government to lower tolls “straight away”.

The regional branch of the PS says it refuses to “believe another election promise from a political party that has never been able to keep its promises”.

PS Algarve also accuses the PSD/CDS-PP government of “throwing sand in the eyes” of Algarvean residents.