Spanish government speeds up introduction of motorway tolls

by Lorraine Williamson
motorway tolls
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MADRID – Although the idea of motorway tolls is barely mentioned in the 2022 budget and is not included in the proposal presented in Brussels, the Spanish government is working to introduce tolls on motorways (autovías) and motorways (autopistas) by 2024.  

The European Commission has been informed of the plans. However, the Spanish government is just unsure about the method to be chosen. Initially, the idea was to introduce the ‘vignette’. This method is very common in the European Union. Furthermore, it allows the motorist with a vignette to drive freely on toll roads. The price of the vignette depends on the type of car and the period of validity. 

Europe wants fairer system 

However, the European Parliament decided last summer to push for a fairer system to replace the vignette. One of the options being considered is payment per kilometre, although in principle this could mean higher costs for users. 

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According to the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, headed by Minister Raquel Sánchez, the Spanish government is in favour of the latter system. However, as yet, nothing has been decided. According to a publication by the Spanish newspaper ABC, the government is investigating the symbolic payment of approximately one cent per kilometre travelled. 

Motorway tolls unavoidable 

The Secretary-General of Infrastructure, Sergio Vázquez, confirmed on Tuesday that charges when using the road network are inevitable. Although he did avoid the word ‘toll’. Speaking at an event organised by Spanish news site Cadena SER, Vázquez assured that the system to be introduced in 2024 will cost much less than current tolls. 

He justifies the introduction of a new system in order to maintain Spain’s high-capacity road network (motorways and motorways). These roads suffer from a maintenance deficit of millions of euros. According to the employers’ association of major construction companies and concessionaires Seopan, work worth €8 billion is needed to maintain the current road network. 

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