SPANISH Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as brought the nationwide toll road reform a step closer after agreeing with the EU to a 12 month deadline to submit its proposal to implement fees on Spain’s highways.
Sanchez has promised that the details of the introduction of tolls on all of Spain’s high capacity roads will be finalised and submitted to the European Union by June 30 2022.
It has then been estimated that it will take two years to come into force, with tolls becoming operational by 2024.
The tolls are on the table to bring Spain in line with other EU nations such as France and Portugal, on request from the EU, in order for Spain to receive important recovery funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also part of Spain’s push to become carbon neutral by 2025, with the original government documents using the phrase ‘whoever pollutes, pays’.
It’s third and most important impact will be to counter the ever increasing costs of maintaining the country’s 12,000 kilometers of high capacity road network, the most extensive in Europe.
It is estimated that the deficit caused by the road network is almost €8 billion according to Association of Companies for the Conservation and Exploitation of Infrastructures (Acex).
The government has also promised that the introduction of a pay-to-use road network will be the first step to establish a Sustainable Mobility Law that will come into play by December 31 2023.
Minister of Transport, Jose Luis Abalos, remains skeptical, and has reiterated his stance that the new mobility plan needs to be handled carefully and must have the backing from Sanchez’s political rivals.
“If there is no consensus, the proposal will not go ahead.” said Abalos last month.
Spain’s plan will mean that its high-speed road network will see tolls introduced of between three and five cents per kilometer, meaning that a trip from Madrid to Cordoba would cost up to €15.
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