SPAIN has scrapped plans to implement a ‘congestion charge’ on its public motorways, in a relief to millions of road users.
The Spanish government has requested to the EU that the proposal, which would have come into force next year, be removed from the Bloc’s so-called ‘Recovery Plan’.
The European Commission has accepted Spain’s request after the policy became a major talking point in the run-up to July’s national elections, reports El Pais.
The plan was designed to deter people from using their cars and motorways in a bid to reduce emissions, but was hated among large swathes of the public since its announcement in 2021.
Brussels is now expected to commit Spain to implementing other environmentally-friendly and energy saving measures instead.
This includes bringing in new legislation to improve the planning and running of public transport across the country.
Among the measures being discussed is an ‘obligation to implement a rail highway development programme’ in viable travel corridors, as well as increasing the number of goods that are transported by freight train.
It comes after public transport by boat was suggested as a remedy for the congestion on the deadly A-7 road in Malaga earlier this month.
The idea came from the new president of the Municipalities Association of the Costa del Sol, Manuel Cardeña.
He sees it as a good way of solving high season hold-ups on both the A-7 and AP-7.
“I’m committed to talking about maritime connections between municipalities to unclog the roads, especially as there are not many alternatives,” said Cardeña.
Those options include trying to promote public transport or trying to revitalise old plans for a coastal train service.
Removing tolls on the AP-7 Mediterranean highway has also been mooted to get traffic off the A-7- frequently voted by motorists as the worst road in Spain.
“What is certain is that the Costa del Sol runs the risk of being an uncomfortable destination unless solutions are produced for those who live here and for those who come to see us,” observed Cardeña.
Sea connections could be set up at existing ports like Benalmadena, Marbella, and Fuengirola.
“We have to think about making a decision and to produce a visionary plan that everybody can agree on to serve all municipalities,” he added.
The Costa del Sol Hoteliers Association(Aehcos) however regards a coastal train as the best way of solving travel problems in the region.
Association vice-president, Javier Hernandez, said: “A train link would be the most beneficial but would need financing.”