Motorway tolls provoke strong opposition

Following legislation passed on 9th September to introduce tolls on the A22 by April of next year, a public meeting has been convened in Loulé for this evening, 20th September, to form a Via do Infante Users’ Commission in order to coordinate opposition to the “unjust and unacceptable” toll scheme.

A22 Motorway Algarve

Photo credit: Elisabete Rodrigues

The Via do Infante has hitherto been one of the few SCUT (toll-free) motorways in the country not to have a functioning Users’ Commission.

The leader of the Socialist Party in the Algarve, Miguel Freitas, has already expressed opposition to the proposals. Calls have been made for demonstrations, and the communists are circulating a petition with the theme: “No to tolls, Yes to Regional Development”, claiming that the so-called positive discrimination measures, namely the limited exemptions and discounts available until July 2010, simply create a smokescreen over the underlying discontent in the region.

The President of the ruling Socialist Democrats in the Algarve, Mendes Bota, responded to the opposition by inviting the militants and their sympathizers to carry on with the “demonstrations of revolt” that the “living forces of Algarvian society insist on arranging”, saying that “it will not change one comma” of the position taken by the government regarding the introduction of the tolls.

Some have called for the introduction of tolls to be suspended at least until the planned improvements to the EN125 have been completed, but Mendes Bota claimed that, improved or not, the EN125 will never be a true alternative to the Via do Infante.

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