Government to announce reduction in ex-SCUT tolls “very soon”

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The Minister of Territorial Cohesion said today that, “very soon”, the Government will announce a program to reduce tolls on former SCUTs and admitted that the abolition can only be considered at the end of the concessions.

“That program is finished and it is planned to be presented. I am responsible for the toll part [on the ex-SCUTs] and, therefore, soon, very soon, I will be able to answer all the questions: What is the toll reduction rate, on which vehicles and what reduction will it focus and when will this reduction begin”, said Ana Abrunhosa, stressing that it is a “reduction, never abolition”.

The minister traveled today to Fundão, in the district of Castelo Branco, to preside over the inauguration ceremony of a new Softinsa/IBM Innovation Center, an investment of around one million euros financed by EU funds.

Ana Abrunhosa said that this is a reduction and explained that the abolition of tolls on ex-SCUTs (roads at no cost to the user) “is something we can consider when the concessions are ending”.

“For now, it’s a reduction that I think people will like,” he said.

The Minister for Territorial Cohesion admitted in May that she felt “always in debt” for not yet having managed to reduce tolls on ex-SCUTs, but stressed that the ministries involved have been working on a proposal.

Ana Abrunhosa said that the work being done takes into account “not only, in the proposal, to reduce the tolls of the former SCUTs, but also the Via do Infante, which is also a promise”.

In Fundão, the minister also told journalists that she expects the announcement of this reduction to take place in “less than a month”.

According to the minister, “reducing tolls goes against what are the decarbonization guidelines”, but, she stressed, this decision “is only justified in these territories” in the interior because there are mobility and accessibility problems.

“That’s why we put in the State Budget for 2023, a program that foresees, not only reviewing the reduction [of tolls], but also improving the supply of public transport and promoting the use of electric vehicles,” he said.

The No Cost to the User routes were created in the late 1990s during the government of António Guterres.

The creation of these roads was controversial, as the burden of using them fell on the state, but in 2010, the then prime minister, José Sócrates, introduced tolls on SCUT concessions.

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