Marking the start of his electoral campaign, Socialist leader António Costa has admitted that the tolls on some highways – including the Algarve’s A22 – will have to be “revised and in some cases eliminated”.
Costa was speaking to journalists on Sunday (September 20) as he visited the Centro Hospitalar Pêro da Covilhã in Covilhã – curiously, the hometown of former PM and now high-profile corruption suspect José Sócrates.
In a somewhat convoluted manner, the would-be next prime minister said there is the need to “make a reassessment of the financial obligations of the state, and eliminate and create better accessibility conditions in the interior and border regions and in tourist areas, such as the Via do Infante (A22) in the Algarve.”
Whether this means a new government under Costa will ditch the tolls entirely is unclear.
He has been quoted by TVI as saying he “is not a fan of proposals to scrap the tolls”, but that in the case of the Algarve, the EN125, which he called a “cemetery”, cannot be considered an alternative to the tolled m-way.
Earlier in July, however, he told the TV station that “considering the state of the country”, messing with tolls wasn’t on his “top-10 list of priorities”.
Current PM Pedro Passos Coelho has already gone on record saying that he plans to lower tolls in the interior and Algarve regions and that he could do so now if he wanted to, but chose not to so that the coalition government wouldn’t be accused of lowering the tolls as a pre-election ploy.
By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]