Tolls on A22

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Portugal’s Minister of the Economy Álvaro Santos Pereira announced on October 7 that the government will introduce tolls on the remaining free-for-users SCUT roads by the end of the month, despite the tolls management request to start the collection of tolls on October 15.

Left-wing politician João Vasconcelos, who set up the Comissão de Utentes da A22 (A22 users’ commission), made an appeal to Álvaro Santos Pereira to “listen to the Algarve and to the people living in the region”, during a protest against the tolls held on October 8.

The slow march against the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante (A22) caused severe problems on the main access road to Faro.

The protest, called A Luta Continua Sempre (The Fight Will Continue), was held on the EN125 and A22 roads.

Some 200 cars and more than 100 motorcycles participated in the protest, which started at 2pm from the Parque das Cidades, near the Algarve Stadium, and moved towards Faro passing through the airport roundabout.

João Vasconcelos told Lusa news agency that attendance was very good. “The demonstration aimed to show that the Algarvians are unhappy about the introduction of tolls and that they will continue to fight, even after the measure is introduced. Tolls will lead to accidents and more deaths on the EN125 road,” he said.

José Domingos, a member of the A22 users’ commission, requested the intervention of the Portuguese President Cavaco Silva.

“The President of the Portuguese Republic was a Prime Minister at the time this road was built and he promised the Algarve population that it would never have tolls. He should stand by his words if he wants to have any credibility in the future as President,” said José Domingos.

Meanwhile, political representatives of the Andalusian region in Spain will proceed with legal action against Portugal in the Court of Justice of the European Union, stating that the introduction of tolls on the A22 is illegal.

“This road was constructed using EU funds and is a route of economic, social and cultural exchange between the Algarve and the Huelva province,” said José Maria Mayo, from the Spanish Popular Party, which has participated in protests along with other politicians and business representatives in Spain.