Discounts will be applied in January 2024
Portugal’s government is going to cut tolls by 30% on several former SCUT (previously free) motorways across the country, including the Algarve’s A22.
“We’re going to have a 30% per cent reduction on roads such as the A22 (Via do Infante/Algarve), the A23 (Beira Interior), the A24 (Interior Norte), the A25 (Beiras Litoral and Alta), the A4 (Marão Tunnel), the A13 and A13-1 (Pinhal Interior),” the minister for territorial cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, announced on Thursday.
Considering the base values from 2011, when the formerly free motorways began to be tolled, the minister said that these discounts represent a reduction of 50% to 65%.
The decision was taken today at a cabinet meeting and aims to restore “territorial justice” in the interior.
According to the minister, the discounts will come into force in January 2024 and apply to all classes of vehicles.
This measure represents an annual expense for the state of around €72 million, the minister for infrastructure, João Galamba, added.
Regarding this “loss of revenue”, Ana Abrunhosa emphasised that it will be permanent, so the government will have to find compensation because Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), which oversees these roads, cannot afford to lose this revenue.
“They are fundamental to IP’s mission, which is to use the revenue for maintenance or building works,” he said.
When questioned by journalists, João Galamba said that the way in which IP would be financially compensated would be announced at a later date, saying that it was an issue that the government was working on.
The minister for territorial cohesion also stressed that these discounts are an “exceptional measure”, which the government does not intend to extend to other routes, reaffirming that it is a question of “territorial justice” because in those territories, “people often have no alternative routes or public transport”.
Exemplifying the importance of this measure, she said that the reduction in tolls on the A13 would mean a saving of €246 per month for those who use that road daily, while in the Marão Tunnel, it would be €52/month and on the A23 it would be €130/month.
“This discount will have an impact on people’s lives,” he said.
The SCUT motorways were created at the end of the 1990s during the government of António Guterres.