A New Form Of Payment For Tolls By 2023

The Government of the Generalitat has demanded from the Government the rescue by the State of all the existing toll highways in Catalonia and the transfer of the management of the entire road network within a period of two years .

Gratuity from September 1 of the AP-7 between Tarragona and La Jonquera; the AP-2 from Zaragoza to El Vendrell; the section between El Papiol and Montmeló.

The C-32 (from Barcelona to Lloret de Mar) and the C-33 (from Barcelona to Montmeló) opens, according to the vice president of the Government, Jordi Puigneró , the end of the “plundering” and the “comparative injury” with the rest of Spain and that it ends up continuing to pay in the same way for infrastructures “that we Catalans have paid for in excess.”

The Government proposes that in two years all Catalan roads be free of barriers and are grouped under a single maintenance financing model .

“The tolls will not return, if it is for the Government of Catalonia,” said Puigneró, who defended ” a different form of financing ” , without specifying, and demanded the complete management of state highways and highways, as well as the railroad.

New toll system
For Puigneró, the proposal is consistent with the indications made by consensus in a resolution of the Parliament in 2018 “compatible with a possible future or simultaneous implementation in other territories of the State” and “in accordance with EU regulations” in terms of pricing , form of management, transitory treatment of pre-existing contracts, deficits and public debt.

The ultimate goal of removing tolls should be to improve traffic as a whole by reducing pollution and congestion on slower roads.The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, is preparing a new financing model for the highways that would come into operation in 2024 and which is included in the recovery plan after the covid-19 pandemic.

The reforms and investments planned to take advantage of the 140,000 million euros that correspond to Spain from the European funds ‘Next Generation’ until 2026. «We do not know which model the Spanish Government wants to apply, but the Government of the Generalitat is willing to assume uncomfortable powers such as roads, as it already did with the prisons, “explained Puigneró

Maintenance costs

For two years, the Generalitat’s budgets will assume the maintenance costs of the toll roads rescued this September 1, a cost that the Government considers “acceptable” and that amounts to about six million per year, about 7.5 million to eliminate the remains of toll infrastructures and another 15 million euros every five years in extraordinary maintenance, according to Ricard Font, general secretary of the vice-presidency.

There are four tolls in Catalonia in concessions that end between 2036 and 2039. The Government’s proposal is that with the new model of state financing or the transfer of management to Catalonia, these roads be rescued as was done in the case of the highways Madrid and that cost around 3,000 million.

The Government calculates that the rescue of the C-16 tunnels of Vallvidrera; C-16 Highway from Montserrat from Sant Cugat to Manresa; C-32 Pau Casals, from Castelldefels to El Vendrell; and the tunnels of the Cadí, would suppose some 1,500 million for the State.

The model that will be applied in Spain after this transitional period until 2024 in which toll-free highways will be financed with regional budgets remains to be discerned. The toll system is based on distance- or area-based fees, which are generally paid at physical road barriers.

They can vary depending on the type of vehicle or the time of day and can be electronic. There may be electronic payment systems without barriers, as in Portugal, for example, or systems based on license plate reading.

The bullet payment system is based on time charges. Users have to buy a label or document and affix it to the vehicle’s windshield, allowing them to use the roads for a specified period, usually one year.

The abolition of tolls opens a new chapter of expenses in the budgets of the affected municipalities, especially in the smallest ones. Highways make contributions in terms of IBI. Only in the affected Catalan towns it is estimated that the decrease in income will be more than 15 million euros per year. Some municipalities estimate that they will lose between 10% and 20% of their income.

Another consequence of the abolition of tolls is the loss of jobs. Abertis, the company owned by ACS and the Italian Atlantia, the most affected by these measures, has initiated an employment regulation file (ERE) that will affect 348 workers from several of the toll road services that it manages in Catalonia through of the companies Acesa, Invicat and Autopistas España.

The company justifies it in the termination of concessions. In February and June 2020 they already carried out two employment regulation files (ere) that claimed 300 jobs, in which the decrease in billing caused by the decrease in mobility during the pandemic was alleged.

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