Home News Spain Beats EU Toll Demand by Offering More Sustainable Transport Options

Spain Beats EU Toll Demand by Offering More Sustainable Transport Options

by Mark Nolan
3 minutes read

The general director of Road Transport, Roser Obrer, has confirmed to the various associations present in the National Road Transport Committee (CNTC) that the Spanish Government definitively rules out imposing tolls for the use of Spanish motorways, as requested by Brussels. A measure that worried not only self-employed professional drivers and small freight or passenger transport companies, but also the thousands of commercial agents and other self-employed workers who use their vehicle as a work tool.

In Spain there are currently 12,035 kilometres of high-speed roads, of which only 1,514 are toll roads, after 550 kilometres have become pay-per-use free in 2021, due to the end of the initial period of this concession. Roser Obrer has committed to the representatives of the transporters to shortly present a draft Royal Decree in which, among other things, this rejection of pricing roads and motorways is made clear.

A tax that road professionals popularly call “Eurovignette”, in reference to the sticker that the driver purchases and sticks on the windshield and that works as a flat rate, and that the European Union has been promoting for the road network for years. First, with a rate based on the time of use, and then through a toll based on the distance travelled.

The Government will encourage the transport of goods by rail

This Spanish refusal, which had already been agreed with the European Commission – which required it as part of the sustainable mobility commitments – has been able to be maintained in exchange for the use of trains in transporting goods in the country, a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to road transport. Otherwise, Brussels threatened to delay the second phase of the Spanish Recovery Plan to mobilise all of the Next Generation European funds between now and 2026 (between transfers and loans up to 25.6 billion euro in 2024, up to 44.6 billion in 2025 and up to 44.3 billion in 2026).

The new agreement between Spain and Brussels includes the replacement of tolls with other solutions to try to reduce polluting emissions from road transport. Which commits us to the introduction of measures to promote the transfer of goods by rail. With three new features: the first is the obligation to implement a railway highway development program, “in those corridors where it is viable and there is a business interest for its development”; The second is the assumption of the commitment to “approve a bonus in railway charges for freight traffic for a minimum period of five years”; and, finally, that our country “develops a support program for rail freight transport, with incentive measures for the modal change from the road and with a concrete plan to modernise the sector.”

The draft Royal Decree, which will be submitted to public consultation in the coming days, will expressly establish the non-application of tolls for circulation on motorways and other roads that are part of the General State Network, with the logical exception of the private motorways subject to concession regime, in other words, toll roads that already exists and are under a long-term management concept. Establishing the criteria for setting the maximum toll to be charged by private motorway concessionaires, and for which vehicle emissions must be taken into account of the price as a novelty.

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