Saturday. 20.04.2024

The coalition government headed by Pedro Sanchez has confirmed that drivers will have to pay a fee for using Spain's highways and motorways from 2024.

It has not yet been detailed how the collection system will be or how much money will be charged per kilometer, but the government emphasizes that the collection will not be made through the old-fashioned toll booths and barriers (peajes, in Spanish).

The measure was announced on Tuesday by the Secretary General of Infrastructure of the Ministry of Transport, Sergio Vázquez.

Later, it was confirmed by the head of the same department, the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, at the end of the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

In principle, the construction of toll booths on the main Spanish roads is ruled out. In fact, many of them have been dismantled in recent months due to the end of some contracts with companies in charge of managing highways.

Two different models

The government says it wants to establish a more comfortable system, which could be based on the vignette model, like the one in force in Switzerland, which consists of a fixed amount of money - a sort of flat rate - for a specific period of time (days, months or annual).

It works with a sticker that is placed on the windshield of the vehicles and that shows that the right to use the motorways has been paid.

Thus there would be no toll booths, or barriers to traffic. The surveillance would be carried out by means of a system of cameras that detect the license plates of the vehicles and verify that the fee has been paid and the authorization to circulate on the highways is in force. Otherwise, the owner of the vehicle receives a fine.

Another possibility that is being debated is to implement a model more similar to that of Portugal, where instead of a fixed fee, drivers pay according to the distance traveled.

Cameras deployed along the road calculate the number of kilometers traveled and charge the corresponding amount to a credit card linked to the vehicle's registration number.

Old cars will pay more

The draft of this new model includes that the owners of the most polluting cars - that is, the oldest ones - will pay more to circulate on motorways.

The Minister of Transport stressed that her department is working on a pricing system "based on the principles of territorial equity, road safety and environmental sustainability." "We have to respond to the European criterion of whoever pollutes pays," she remarked.

Government confirms: drivers will pay to use Spanish motorways