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‘Celebrating’ 9 Years Of Tolls on Via do Infante

Photo by Barlavento - 'CELEBRATING' 9 YEARS OF TOLLS ON VIA DO INFANTEYesterday marked 9 years of tolls on Via do Infante (A22), a “very negative and unfair for the Algarve” event introduced by the PSD / CDS government, with the support of the PS, on December 8, 2011.

They have been “years of genuine ordeal for the Algarve, in which mobility in the region has regressed by more than 20 years and territorial inequalities have worsened”, said the Via do Infante User Commission (CUVI).
“The economic and social losses have been enormous and many lives have been lost, since the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante forced the massive diversion of traffic to the EN125, which is not yet fully upgraded between Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António and which has enhanced road accidents. PS and PSD, having not resolved this saga once and for all, are responsible for the discrimination of the populations of the Algarve”, justifies the CUVI.

Now, under the State Budget for 2021 “tolls in the Algarve will suffer a 50 percent reduction, against the wishes of the government and the PS. This is a positive step, which represents some relief for users, companies and populations, but what is needed is the abolition, pure and simply, of tolls in the region. It is a struggle that the Users Commission will continue to pursue until the end. The PS, a few years ago, promised to cut toll rates by 50 percent, but it never delivered. But now, it has ended up bending due to the vote of the opposition in the Assembly of the Republic”.

For CUVI, “this is precisely what should happen, the abolition of tolls at a time when the Algarve is experiencing one of the most serious crises in its history and which will dramatically worsen, due to the pandemic, the monoculture of tourism and the lack of support from the government. The government has no intention of responding positively to the social and economic emergency that the Algarve is experiencing. The region already has more than 25 thousand unemployed and it is foreseeable that many companies will be thrown into bankruptcy, increasing unemployment, the difficulties and the needs of the people”.

In this way, CUVI considers that “the government should suspend tolls in the Algarve, as stipulated by the Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic no. 50/2001, of 20 June 2020. In other words, the government must comply with what was approved in Parliament. In addition, the Via do Infante PPP (like all others) is very ruinous for the State, transferring tens of millions of euros to the private concessionaire’s pockets every year, funds from the taxpayers that are lacking to combat the crisis, for the National Health Service, for investment. And Prime Minister António Costa must keep the word given to the Algarve in 2015, which, if it were a government, would end the tolls in the Algarve. To this day, that promise has been nothing but empty and unfulfilled words”.