New payment system for Spanish roads on the way

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish roads new payment system proposed

MADRID – Despite the recent abolition of the toll on several roads, the government is working on a new payment system for Spanish roads based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle. 

“We are working on a pricing proposal for the state-owned road network. It will be based on the principles of territorial justice, road safety and environmental sustainability.” Minister Raquel Sánchez of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and Sustainability announced this during her last appearance in parliament. It is a ‘user pays’ principle. With this we are responding to the European criterion that states that ‘whoever pollutes must pay’, the minister said. 

‘Commitment to Brussels’ 

However, further details are not yet known and no date has yet been set. Although, it is quite possible this new toll system on Spanish roads, will be in place by 2024. According to Premier Sánchez, it is a “commitment to Brussels” in which he alluded to the countries in the EU that already have such a system. 

“We need financial resources to maintain the quality of our highways,” said the minister. “In addition, we must respond to the European criterion ‘who pollutes pays’. And, as indicated, contribute to the reduction of the greenhouse gases produced,” she continued. 

The pay-as-you-go plan has yet to be discussed with political groups, social partners and other governments. 

Cogesa Expats

In this regard, the website recalls that the recovery plan sent to Brussels by the government extended the compensation for the use of all high-capacity roads – not the secondary ones – to all drivers who use them. 

Transport organisations are against 

It is not the first plan launched by the government in recent years. Moreover, they do not lead to calm in the transport sector. When the government proposed to introduce a payment system of 1 cent per kilometre, transport organisations announced demonstrations and strikes. 

‘Significant investment shortfall’ 

The Transport Minister pointed out that “a significant investment shortfall has arisen in the maintenance of the road network over the last ten years”. The shortfall in the maintenance budget of the national road network, with an estimated minimum requirement of €1.2 billion per year, amounts to an average of around €300 million per year between 2012 and 2017. And that will again be paid for by the users. 

Longest motorway network in Europe 

At 17,338 kilometres, Spain has the longest motorway network in Europe and the third-longest in the world. In contrast to neighbouring countries, Spain also offers the most free routes (73.5% of the free road network in Europe). 

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