CUVI, the Via do Infante Users' Committee, had a full day last Saturday May 23rd as it launched a full set of objections to the toll system after a lunchtime debate, followed by a go-slow convoy and the placing of wreaths and memorials at locations on the EN125 where there recently have been yet more road deaths.
CUVI say that the tolls system on the motorway is largely responsible for the high accident rate in the Algarve, particularly on the EN125 which has become an urban street and has reverted to its status as the ‘road of death’
The Algarve currently is seeing an average of 23 accidents per day, with 30 deaths and 150 serious injuries per year and over a hundred deaths in the three and a half years that they tolls have existed.
CUVI welcomed "the involvement of users and other citizens, particularly many motorcyclists from the Moto Clube of Faro and attendees from neighboring Andalusia.”
In the debate, a motion was approved unanimously by about a hundred people present to “require the government immediately to suspend the tolls on the Via do Infante, to totally upgrade and repair the EN125, to ask national and regional politicians from the PSD, CDS and PS for an unambiguous position statement in relation to tolls and to appeal to the Algarve mayors group AMAL and other regional entities to bolster the broad platform of Algarve citizens to immediately suspend the tolls."
This statement will be sent to the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Economy, the Head of State, the Secretary General of the Socialist Party, the President of AMAL and the parliamentary groups in Parliament.
The motion asks that
After almost three and a half years since the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante by the government on December 8, 2011, the results of this tragic and unjust measure are clear to everyone, especially the increase in accidents on the EN125, a very dangerous 'urban street' which again has become the ‘road of death.’
The EN125 needs fixing as the government, via Estradas de Portugal, cancelled the construction of very important roadworks in Lagos, Olhão and Tavira, and on the EN2 between Faro and S. Brás de Alportel.
The tolls have contributed to the dramatic worsening social and economic crisis in the Algarve, a region that lives almost exclusively from tourism, with numerous bankruptcies, business closures and unemployment continuing to affect tens of thousands of people.
The tolls have led to a severe loss of the Algarve’s competitiveness. There has been a 25% drop in Spanish visitors, while mobility in the Algarve region has regressed about 20 years.
The tolls also violate international treaties on cross-border cooperation, such as the Treaty of Valencia signed between Portugal and Spain from which derives the Euroregion Algarve-Alentejo-Andalusia
It is public knowledge that the Via do Infante was built as a way to combat structural asymmetries and facilitate mobility of people and businesses, aimed at economic and social development of the Algarve. This it no longer does.
The Via do Infante does not have the technical characteristics of a motorway and was built on the SCUT (free to users) funding model, mainly financed with European Community funds.
The toll collection systems and the use of coercive collection systems for non-payment embarrass both the Algarve and the country, and unfairly penalise users and other citizens.
The main responsible national and regional politicians can no longer blame the Troika for continuing with the tolls system and thus are seen as being against the Algarve and its population by continuing to defend the tolls.
Others are in favour of the Algarve and its people and are taking measures for the immediate suspension of tolls on the Via do Infante.