A22 tolls cost Algarve drivers €70 million over last three years

A22 tolls cost Algarve drivers €70 million over last three years Image

December 19, 2014

One undoubted political bone of contention in recent years for many of those taking out expat car insurance in Portugal has been the imposition of tolls on the Via do Infante. Three years after the introduction of the tolls, Estradas de Portugal has revealed that drivers in the Algarve have paid out €70 million in tolls on the road over the last three years, this year also seeing another rise in the toll income.

Continuing to oppose the tolls and point out the detrimental effect that it claims they have had on the Algarve's regional economy is the Via do Infante Users Committee (CUVI), which has contended that the tolls should be suspended for both economic and safety reasons, while running a programme of protests in support of this stance.

CUVI has pointed out that the alternative road suggested by the government, the EN125, has an unnecessarily high accident rate, given the many village locations that the overburdened and poorly maintained road runs through, as well as the fact that the road was never intended to be an alternative to motorway travel.

Criticism for the toll system has also been communicated from the outset by the Partido Comunista Português, which recently lent its support to a new protest along the Faro streets to mark the tolls' three years in operation. The party has described the tolls as having a "very negative" impact on the region's economic activity, in addition to generating a "worsening of social injustices and inequalities."

Talks have taken place between CUVI, the Left Bloc and Spanish political parties, including Izquierda Unida, resulting in the formation of a Spanish-Portuguese group of those impacted by the Via do Infante's tolls. Meanwhile, the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve that is made up of the region's mayors has now approved a motion to appeal against the continued imposition of the tolls, also for reasons of both economy and safety.

Nonetheless, Estradas de Portugal has reported that it only took until October for this year's revenue from tolls to match the amount - €23.8 million - gathered during the whole of 2013. This, in turn, was an increase on the €21.3 million generated during 2012, the first full year of operation. It therefore seems that to the consternation of all motorists, including policyholders of expat car insurance in Portugal, the despised tolls could remain in place for some time yet.

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