According to the recovery plan that Spain has transmitted to the European Commission in Brussels, the Spanish government plans to begin “a payment mechanism” on the country’s high-speed roads starting in 2024.
Drivers would have to pay to use Spain’s autopistas. Some autopistas are not currently free to use, while others have been made toll-free in recent years. The tolls would also apply to the countries’ autovías, high-speed motorways that are currently toll-free.
The plan may also include charging drivers to use other national and regional roads. Up to now, the government had been leaning towards making some sections of the AP-1, AP-7, and AP-4 freeways toll-free as private concessions expired.
According to the plan, which is in line with the EU’s policy of “polluters pay,” the government would first introduce fees on the state-run high-capacity freeways, including autopistas and autovías. They would later charge tolls on the 14,000 km of national single-lane roads.
The exact amount to be charged is as yet undisclosed, but sources estimate it will be between €0.03/km and €0.06/km. In a situation of €0.04/km, drivers traveling from Madrid to Burgos would pay €9, €12 to drive to Zaragoza, and €14 to get to Valencia.
It has been reported the government will not begin the plan before 2024 due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
Toll policies and the rest of the EU
Following the economic crisis of 2008, Portugal launched tolls for its entire high-capacity freeway network for all vehicles. In France and Italy, tolls are standard on the motorways. In Germany, they are free of charge. However, no other European country imposes a toll on single-lane roads.