The Spanish government has approved to limit the price increases on 11 toll roads to 4% in 2023. This represents a softening of the 8.4% increase in tolls according to the evolution of the consumer price index (CPI). On three roads, this also eliminates the pass-through of the impact of extraordinary revisions.
The highways affected
It has been decided to freeze tolls on the SEITT-managed highways, which have been returned to the state due to financial difficulties. Specifically, according to the approved royal decree, the rate increase will be limited to 4% in 2023 for users of the AP-51, AP-61, AP-53, AP-66, AP-7 Alicante-Cartagena, AP-7 Málaga-Guadiaro, AP-68 and AP-71, AP-9, AP-6 and AP-46 motorways.
Work to improve infrastructure
In the case of the AP-7 Alicante-Cartagena, on top of the ordinary increase, an extraordinary rate increase of 1% will have to be applied to repay a participation loan taken out by the State to pay for expropriations. This means that without measures, the rate would increase by 9.46%. Nevertheless, it was approved that the increase next year will be 4% for this stretch too, limiting the ordinary increase to 3%, plus the corresponding compensation, to which 1% of the extraordinary increase will be added.
The AP-46 Alto de Las Pedrizas-Málaga and the AP-9 Autopista del Atlántico also have to apply an extraordinary revision of the rate to finance the works carried out to improve the infrastructure. For this highway too, the government has decided to limit the increase to 4% and increase the subsidy to compensate for the revenue that users will no longer receive.
The aim, according to the Ministry of Transport, led by Minister Raquel Sánchez, is to “help citizens cope with the current scenario of high energy prices”. This stems from the conflict in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, which mainly affects the mobility and disposable income of households’.
The ministry will subsidise part of the revenue that concessionaires will not receive due to this limitation on toll increases in 2023. A budget line of €23.3 million will be released for this purpose. It also introduces a requirement for the General Government Service to provide the necessary funds to partially mitigate the increase between 2024 and 2026, thus spreading it.
‘We must not forget that the increase in tariffs is cumulative, hence the need to pass on to users the difference they do not pay in 2023, a year when the increase due to inflation is expected to be around 8.38%. Even if this is done bit by bit, so that it can be accepted by citizens in better circumstances,’ the Minister said.