"The increase in tolls represents a New Year's gift of 140 million euros that the Government gave to concessionaires", CUVI spokesman João Vasconcelos told the Lusa agency, who assured the continuation of the fight, throughout 2023, for the abolition of tolls on the only motorway in the Algarve.
The route taken on the Via do Infante (A22) between Lagos and Castro Marim rose, for a class 1 car, from 6.30 to 6.60 euros, an increase of 30 cents, which represents an increase of 4.8%.
The contracts signed with the concessionary companies provided for an increase in tolls to be identical to the level of inflation, of around 10%.
However, to minimize the impact of the price rise in 2023, the Government reached an agreement to pay 140 million euros to the concessionaires, which is equivalent to 2.8% of the increase, with users having to pay a maximum of up to 4. 9% and the companies that run these routes the remainder.
João Vasconcelos, who is a former member of the Bloco de Esquerda, recalled that the part paid by the Government to the concessionaires comes from the General State Budget, that is, “from the taxpayers' pockets”.
The spokesperson also criticised the lack of compliance with a resolution passed in the Assembly of the Republic on June 19, 2020, that stipulated the suspension of tolls on Via do Infante until National Road (EN) 125 was “requalified”.
The section of the EN 125 between Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António, in the eastern Algarve, remains to be reclassified, after being left out of the concession.
João Vasconcelos insists that the EN125, which also crosses the Algarve, along the coast, “is not an alternative to Via do Infante”.
Tolls on the old roads at no cost to the user (SCUT) - A22 (Via do Infante), A23 (Torres Novas/Guarda), A24 (Viseu/Chaves), and A25 (Aveiro/Vilar Formoso) - were introduced by the Government in December 08, 2011.