If you regularly drive in Spain, or plan to move to Spain and drive in the country, then there is a new scheme being introduced across the country by 2024 that you need to know about.
By 2024, Spain will use tolls to charge drivers for using public highways.
Here’s everything you need to know about the plans, and how they could impact you:
The main reason for the introduction of these new toll roads is to ensure that Spain adheres to the EU’s ‘polluters pay’ principal; this is a European-wide policy that makes road user compensate for the traffic pollution that they contribute to, and reducing their road pollution in this way is one of the conditions that the EU has placed on Spain in exchange for receiving a payment of approximately €140 billion from the European recovery funds, to help Spain to financially recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The new toll road policy will also pay for the maintenance of the roads, ensuring that Spain has one of the best and smoothest road networks in Europe. The maintenance cost of Spain’s road infrastructure is no small figure, and this bill is only continuing to increase year on year. The national budget can no longer absorb this cost, so it is thought that the tolls being brought in will be able to cover much of these costs.
Which Roads Will Be Toll Roads?
It is thought that, under the plans, 12,000 kilometres of road in Spain would be toll roads. This would include both the country’s existing network of autopistas (highways that charge a toll) as well as the autovías (motorways that are currently free of charge) which would all become toll roads over the next three years. Once this first stage of toll charging has been introduced, the possibility is being considered to extend the policy to the remaining national and regional roads that are not including in this first stage of toll introduction; this makes up an additional 14,000 kilometres of Spanish road.
When will New Tolls be Introduced?
Other than the headline year of 2024, no specific dates have been set for the transition from roads that are free from toll charges to toll roads. It is thought that the transition will take between two and three years from the time it was announced to allow for both the legislative changes to be put in place, as well as the practical considerations of installing a huge number of toll booths. These charges are only intended to impact high-capacity roads, meaning that local road users should still expect to be able to travel short distances without charge. It’s important to note that this is common practice in many other EU states, so Spain is simply falling in line with its neighbouring countries.
What Will the Charges Be?
If you’re a regular road user in Spain, then you may be concerned about how much the toll charges are going to be, and the impact this may have on your monthly budget. At this point, the authorities have not revealed how much the new charges will be, but some official bodies have released estimates of what they thing the figures might be. The Infrastructure Maintenance Association (ACEX) and the Construction Company Industry (Seopan) have both suggested that a fee of between €0.03 to €0.05 per kilometre of road would be sufficient to cover the €8 billion annual maintenance budget, but this charge is likely to be higher for larger vehicles. For Heavy goods vehicles, for example, you could expect to pay up to €0.14 per kilometre to utlise a road with a toll system in place.
Based on the middle ground figure of €0.04 per kilometre, a motorist from Madrid travelling to Burgos would have to pay around €9, with a trip to Zaragoza setting them back €12. The charge would then increase further to €14 to travel to Valencia, €15 to Córdoba, €16 to Badajoz and €22 to reach A Coruña.
Spain is the perfect base to explore wider Europe, and this fascinating country provides so much to see and do without ever leaving its borders! Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to assist you with your property search.