Brussels corrects Spanish government: will there be tolls from next year after all?

by Lorraine Williamson
road tolls in Spain

The European Commission has reminded Spain that its recovery plan includes a commitment to introduce tolls in 2024. However, the Spanish government denied earlier this week that it will impose tolls on highways starting next year.  

The European Commission corrected the Spanish government on Thursday. The EC confirmed that Spain’s recovery and resilience plan – approved by Brussels – includes a commitment to adopt a law on sustainable mobility and transport funding. And to additionally introduce a mechanism to pay for the use of roads from 2024, although Spanish Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez ‘categorically’ denied this earlier this week.  

The “polluter pays”

“We understand that the Spanish plan refers to a plan for road pricing from 2024 that is in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle,” confirmed European Commission spokesperson Veerle Nuyts.  

The measure was announced a week ago by the director of the Directorate General of Transport (DGT), Pere Navarro, and later denied by the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez. She considered the controversy surrounding the possible payment of tolls for the use of highways in Spain “settled. Moreover, she categorically denied that tolls would have to be paid.  

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However, the EU executive confirmed that the toll measure was included in the plan approved by both Brussels and member states and specifically linked to the disbursement of the fifth tranche of the plan, which amounts to more than €8 billion.  In the plan approved by Brussels, the measure aims to internalise the external costs of road transport, creating incentives to be more efficient in this sector and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

‘We will evaluate this measure when we reach the fifth payment request from Spain, so it is not a discussion for now,’ the Commission spokesman said. 

Click here to read more about the plans for tolls 


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