In the midst of the broad political and social rejection that the government’s proposal to introduce tolls on all highways from 2024 , the government suggests that the measure is a counterpart for receiving European funds.
“From a coherence point of view, Spain is asking European citizens in its recovery plan to invest in transport infrastructures in our country, when in most countries of the European Union it is already paying for the use of the roads, therefore, coherence, if we are asking for resources to invest in the infrastructures, logically we have to propose this reform “, said this Friday the Secretary of State for Transport, Pedro Saura .
The Minister of Finance and Government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero , pointed out that the reform to implement tolls on Spanish highways is still premature because there are three years of dialogue and debate with the sectors to agree on a system similar to the one that already works in 23 countries Europeans.
The Government spokesperson linked this reform to a sustainable mobility plan with European funds with more than 10,000 million that will serve to undertake improvements in urban, metropolitan and commuter transport and thus facilitate the use of private vehicles, the most pollutant. “It is a reform that homologates Spain with most of the surrounding countries”, summarized Montero, in Granada.
Compensation to carriers
In the Recovery Plan presented on April 30 to the European Commission, the Spanish Government undertakes to adopt payment for use on the highways as of 2024 as a formula to obtain resources with which to finance their maintenance.
The measure is one of the 102 reforms committed by the Government to the European Commission in exchange for obtaining the 140,000 million euros of European funds allocated to Spain (in transfers and loans, in equal parts).
The Secretary of State for Transport, in statements to the media after participating in the inauguration of the first high-speed rail service between Madrid and Barcelona by the firm Ouigo , a competitor of Renfe, considered it “fair” to establish a payment mechanism for the use of roads, as it would fall on those who use them and not on the taxpayers as a whole.
In any case, Saura stressed the need to have the greatest social, political and economic consensus, especially with the group of transporters . Thus, the Secretary of State added that the Government is willing to discuss possible compensation for the introduction of tolls, especially for professional transporters .
Most of the major political forces, including Unidos Podemos , as well as PP, Ciudadanos, Vox or Compromís , have expressed their rejection of the introduction of tolls. The PP, Ciudadanos and PDeCAT will take advantage of the next control session in Congress to hold the government accountable for the proposal.
The BNG will also call for the mobilization of Galician society and will take initiatives to Congress to avoid the implementation of tolls on highways, a measure that it has stated is “very harmful to people with fewer resources” and “harms the interests of Galicia and its economic development “.
Podemos has reiterated its rejection of the plan to extend the toll system to the entire state road network and demands that it be specified by the Ministry of Transport on criteria of sustainability and “social and territorial justice” so that they do not affect the majority of the population. population.
“To assume the framework that the maintenance of the roads is paid for by all users, is to assume a framework of co-payments in public services (without also taking into account the income levels and the payment capacity of the users).
This would be politically unaffordable in public services (such as health, or education), and undermines the progressiveness of the system for attracting resources by the State. And the same happens when we talk about public infrastructures, such as roads, “they detail in the training dwelling.
Transport associations have also expressed their rejection. The Spanish Confederation of Bus Transport (Confebus) pointed out this Friday that the announcement by the Government of Spain to start charging tolls for circulating on the national road network as of 2024 could represent “a disincentive” for the use of collective transport.