The toll returns to the front line: the current free everything model is unfeasible

The large construction companies and concessionaires propose charging the network of large interurban roads in Spain to comply with the 2030 Agenda.

Image of the AP-4 motorway.

Comply with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations within the 2030 Agenda it will require a public investment for Spain of 103,633 million euros in infrastructure alone in the next ten years, according to calculations by the Association of Construction Companies and Infrastructure Concessionaires (Seopan).

This huge amount of money that Seopan has calculated is spread over five of the 17 goals to which the Government of Spain has committed. To reduce the number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents (SDG 3), €2.2 billion; to guarantee the availability and management of water and sanitation (SDG 6), 5,253 million; to increase the resilience and quality of our infrastructures (SDG 9), 17,548 million; for the environmental and social sustainability of our cities (SDG 11), 74,784 million; and to combat drought and floods (SDG 15), 3,848 million.

At the current rate of investment and contracting, it will be impossible to achieve the SDGs”, Seopan said on Tuesday. Your president, Julian Nunez, has stated that “the 2030 Agenda is a global challenge and in terms of infrastructure, the current model does not work because we are investing little”. Specifically, according to the association, at levels equivalent to 1980 in terms of GDP and with the lowest ratio in the European Union (EU).

According to Seopan calculations, to ensure compliance with the 2030 Agenda an additional investment effort would be necessary in the 2020-2030 period similar to 8.3% of GDP. Something that is “impossible” since it would imply a 40% increase in annual public investment in GDP over the next ten years, from the 2.12% expected to 2.95%.

Against this background, the Association of Construction Companies and Infrastructure Concessionaires proposes act on two levers. On the one hand, recover the concessional model in hiring. For the other, implement new public infrastructure management models with greater participation of private capital.

The tolls would pay the investment

Since the accounts do not come out with the current investment levels to comply with the United Nations, Seopan has designed a base scenario with which it measures the impacts that pricing would entail (put tolls) the entire interurban road network capacity of all public administrations (state, autonomous communities, councils and councils). In all, more than 14,130 kilometers.

Julián Núñez has started from the basis that “our current road management model does not guarantee either the sustainability or the quality of the stock of public capital that we have in our country”. According to the president of Seopan, “it generates a clear and manifest social inequality, it induces a territorial inequality by the communities that have tolls and those that do not, it supposes a lack of harmonization in our mode of transport, it represents the absence of competitiveness in freight transport land interior interior and generates an annual withdrawal of public resources of 2,000 million only in conservation of the entire road network.

“We consider a concessional model management and operation by the private sector with a system free flow without barriers and with a concession term of 25 years”, pointed out Julián Núñez. According to his calculations, could involve up to an initial payment from the private sector to the State of 104,000 million or an annual payment of 4,800 million.

In addition, the president of the Seopan has deepened, it would be necessary to take into account the fiscal impact of this activity through VAT, IBI and Corporate Tax. “It would accrue public revenue worth practically 4.7 billion and a saving of annual spending 850 million in conservation Of these 14,130 km. of highways”, explained Julián Núñez.

The plan of the large construction companies and concessionaires to reach 104,000 million euros for concessions to private operators for the operation and maintenance of these highways for 25 years, to implement the average rates in their highest range (9 euro cents/km for vehicles light vehicles to 19 euro cents/km for heavy vehicles) and measure the impacts.

“Since there is an excess rate between what is charged to drivers and the maintenance needs, it would imply a advance payment to the public sector by the private sector that in the event that a payment is made upon signing the contracts, it is quantified in €104 billion”, stated Julián Muñoz.

Spain currently concentrates 73.5% of toll-free highways throughout Europe, after the review of AP-1, AP-4 and AP-7. Meanwhile, there are 23 countries on the Old Continent with 100% of their network charged and four partially, including our country, which has the lowest ratio (17%). In total, 61,000 kilometers of highways with tolls.

The model is studied in detail”, the president of Seopan has sentenced. For drivers’ peace of mind, if possible, Julián Nuñez explained that this proposal to put tolls on all highways in the country “has many discriminations, since many differentiating concepts can be applied in a pricing system with current technology.”

As an example, he pointed out that in Germany there are six different types of pricing depending on the vehicle, the driver’s income, the number of axles in the vehicle, the car’s pollution, whether it is a holiday or a working day, etc.