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Proposal presented to abolish tolls on A22, claiming that it is lining the pockets of private investors

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) presented on Monday, October 28th, in the Assembly of the Republic, a new proposal which calls for the abolition of tolls on the A22, also called the Via do Infante.

This initiative, which was discussed shortly after the legislative session began, corresponds to one of the commitments made by the PCP in its election manifesto, and it was one of the focal points of the party’s election campaign in the Algarve.

“As is well known, this is not the first time that the CFP (Public Finanças Council) has helped us forward with this initiative, that has been consistently unsuccessful because of the votes of the PS, PSD and CDS,” argued the PCP in a press release.

“However, the existing situation, with tolls over the last 8 years penalizing the Algarve’s economy and populations has pushed thousands of motorists towards the EN125 (which has a full requalification remaining to be done) and delayed the development of the region,” they added.

It doesn’t take an expert to witness the quickened decay of the condition of the EN125 since the tolls on the A22 were introduced. This is largely because of the increased traffic load, which hasn’t been aided by a growth in tourism in the region.

The PCP complains that “the fight against tolls should be intensified, for the right of mobility, and the return of this important infrastructure to the region”.

Who’s to blame for this issue? The Communist Party point their finger at Sócrates’ Socialist government, but most of the parties in the Assembly. “The facts are undeniable. It was a Socialist Party government that decided in 2010 to introduce tolls on all SCUT concessions from north to south of the country.”

“However, it was the PSD and CDS Government that came after, in December 2011, that implemented this measure on the Via do Infante.”

The party also point out that it has been the “PS, PSD and CDS that have rejected, in the last eight years, all the proposals presented by the PCP for the abolition of tolls and, no matter what, there are only tolls on the Via do Infante because this has been the choice of these parties.”

The PCP statement released on Monday goes on to criticize the use of a public-private partnership to run the toll system as “a truly ruinous option for the state and a big deal for private individuals who, without any risk, benefit from very high rates of investment return.”

This provides a platform for the accusation that the polls on the A22 were only put in place to collect revenue for these private companies associated with the 2011 partnership. The PCP clarify this by saying that the tolls are “an option aimed at preserving the huge profits of the private investors at the expense of the sacrifice made by the populations and the regional economy. This must be put to an end,” concludes the party in their press statement.