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Saturday - the ‘great debate’ on the Algarve's motorway tolls

4788"About two years after the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante by the current government and with the worsening of the crisis, the Algarve is on the brink of social and economic disaster," says the Committee of Users of the Via do Infante (CUVI.)

The great debate open to the public will be held in conference room of the Business Centre of the Algarve Region (NERA) in Loulé from 3pm.

The forum will discuss the affects of two years of tolls on the A22 motorway. The line up is impressive with Vítor Aleixo, Mayor of Loulé, João Vasconcelos, CUVI member and councilor at Municipality of Portimão, Jorge Botelho, president of AMAL, Desiderio Silva, president of the Algarve Tourism, Antonio Ponce, President of the Federation of Onubense Entrepreneurs (Huelva, Spain), and encouragingly, Paulo Morais the vice president of the Association for Transparency and Integrity.

Other representatives from the Algarve and Andalusia, including mayors, MPs and the mayors of the Spanish cities of Ayamonte and Huelva are expected to contribute.

CUVI summarises the problem -  "tens of thousands of unemployed, hundreds of business failures, famine and poverty spreading like a snowball, daily traffic accidents on the EN 125 with injuries and fatalities over the past two years."

CUVI demand at the very least that the public-private partnership (PPP) deal for the Via do Infante is made public.

"Even with the tolls income, the pubic purse is experiencing a loss of tens of millions of euros transferred directly into the pockets of the concession holder. It is a ruinous PPP and must be annulled by the government," explains CUVI, referring to the estimated €40 million plus that the government pays out in support to the concession holder, owned by Spanish 'Ferrovial', every year due to an entirely predictable drop in motorway traffic volume in a deal that must rank as one of the most incompetent every negotiated for Portugal's road system.  

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+2 #2 RCK 2014-03-23 18:13
I would love to think that someone somewhere in government with half a brain could see the folly of tolling the A22 and bring an abrupt end to this disastrous initiative - but I am not holding my breath. In the meantime, I will continue to leave a few minutes earlier than I used to and play dodge the potholes on the N125 with the rest of the minions. Hey Ho
+3 #1 jimlagos 2014-03-23 14:26
As an ex resident of Portugal. I can honestly assure that I would never go on these tolls, as the payment methods make me nervous! I occasionally use Spanish and French tolls but these are more straightforward for payment.

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