Free toll roads to disappear in Spain by 2024

Free toll roads are set to disappear in Spain by the end of 2024.

Free toll roads in Spain will become a thing of the past by 2024. The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, confirmed yesterday (Tuesday, October 19) that drivers will have to pay to use the highways from 2024.

The introduction of the toll is based on the State’s need to seek new resources to pay for public services. Currently, the construction and maintenance of non-toll roads is paid for through General State Budgets. In 2022, €1,371 million will be allocated for the services, creating a deficit of about €9,000 million.

According to the Association of Companies for the Conservation and Exploitation of Infrastructures (ACEX), the maintenance of each kilometre of highway costs €80,000 euros and the Spanish Road Association (AEC) estimated, in its latest study, that the accumulated deficit roads in this aspect amount to €7,300 million.

However, of that amount, only €2,500 million actually corresponded to state-owned roads. This network has an extension of 26,466 km, half of them are high capacity roads and 52% of the total traffic and 64% of trucks use them.

Balancing the books

The main reason for paying tolls on highways is the need to balance public accounts. The second has a sustainable component. It is only a matter of applying the “polluter pays” principle also in the transport of people and passengers: it seems logical that whoever damages the environment the most must also generate the resources that are needed to clean it and not bear this cost to all taxpayers.

The pay-per-use tagline is added to help with this paradigm shift. Today, the highways are paid for by the PGE; as of 2024, they will be paid for by the drivers who use them.

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In Spain as a whole, tolls must be paid on about 20% of the motorway network; the rest is free. However, there are big variations by region- in Catalonia for example over half the state motorway network is composed of toll routes, but still, it is cheaper to drive here in Spain- 76 per cent less actually.


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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.


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