It was announced that tolls on previously unpaid motorways in Portugal were to drop sometime in the summer by the Minister of Transport in April. Many were expecting cuts by up to 50 percent, but in the end, motorists were forced to accept a reduction of 15 percent a few months later.
Tolls on previously unpaid motorways that had gantries erected on them back in 2011 amid widespread opposition, were reduced in the summer.
The government explained that the cut was justified in that it would increase mobility and economic exchanges in disadvantaged areas in rural Portugal, but added that mainland Portugal’s second wealthiest region, the Algarve, would also benefit as it would be unfair to discriminate.
Preliminary analyses also indicated that by reducing tolls, more drivers would travel on these motorways and that the move could potentially come at very little cost to the taxpayer or actually prove profitable.
The eventual reduction of 15 percent came almost a year after then opposition leader António Costa told reporters that one of his party’s priorities was to go one step further and “eliminate” tolls and “create better access routes” in the Algarve and in the countryside.
For now, tolls, which went up slightly in January, remain on the A22 and are set to do so for some time yet.