Will the toll for the AP-7 along Costa del Sol finally be abolished?

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In the middle of the debate about abolishing the toll for the AP-7 (between Málaga and Algeciras along Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella and Estepona), the price has gone up by 50%. The ‘special seasonal prices’ apply from June 1 to the end of September.

This means that the journey from Málaga to Marbella now costs €8.60. That was €5.25 euros and represents an increase of 64%. For the entire route from Málaga to Manilva, the costs have increased from around €10 to just over €16 . This means that in summer the costs can exceed €500 per month for those who use this highway that connects the entire Costa del Sol on a daily basis. The toll road is therefore the most expensive in Spain per kilometre built.

Avoid traffic jams

This price increase coincides with increasing calls from various interest groups to abolish the toll. In particular, residents, workers and students of the Costa del Sol and the Gibraltar area, who commute along the coast every day, would benefit from the abolition. Now, to save costs, they often take the coastal road N-340/A-7, but it is always busy and there are often traffic jams. We recently wrote about how the ongoing traffic jam on the Costa del Sol affects 4 million Andalucians. What does not contribute to smooth traffic flow is that there is no public transport available that covers that route. In this context, various groups have been advocating for years for the extension of the coastal train from Fuengirola to Estepona.

PP proposal to abolish tolls

Transporters from the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz recently emphasised in the regional newspaper La Opinión de Málaga that abolishing the toll would improve their working conditions, increase road safety on the busy alternative A7 and reduce pollution. The political party PP has therefore submitted a proposal to the central government to permanently abolish the toll for employees, transporters and students who have to use the toll road every day. The political party also believes that the toll road should be free for people who go to medical centres along the coast.

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Comparison with Portugal

Reference is also made to Portugal as an argument for the abolition of the toll. There, tolls have recently been lifted on several highways, including the roads connecting the province of Huelva with the Algarve. So far, the central government has not spoken out in favour of abolishing or reducing the toll. In a parliamentary response on April 17, the government rejected a proposal to abolish the toll. This proposal was tabled by José Alberto Armijo, PP senator and mayor of Nerja, who cited the mobility problems between Málaga and Estepona as the main argument.

PP offensive

The PP has been campaigning fanatically in recent months for the abolition or reduction of the toll. This was linked to the not yet completed coastal train. The party hopes to solve the mobility problems with this and points out that the demand for toll reduction is high and that this issue is also receiving a lot of attention on social media. Provincial president of the PP, Patricia Navarro, said that “for six years, the Sánchez government has been punishing Andalucia and Malaga, while they are the most flourishing and fastest growing areas in Spain, without investments, without projects and with a mobility that is a funnel, without the state administration doing anything about it.”

Political support

The Diputación de Málaga (with the support of PP, PSOE, Vox and Con Málaga) and the Parliament of Andalucia (with the abstention of PSOE and the left-wing parties) have also called on the national government to abolish or reduce the toll. On the day the summer rates came into effect, the Málaga PP in Marbella called on the central government to introduce a bonus plan, as exists in Galicia. With this, 50% of the costs would be compensated. Navarro also pointed out that there are nine commuter train lines in Alicante, while the Ministry of Transport there is considering abolishing the AP-7 toll of 33 kilometres.

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