The years go by, the highways deteriorate, the Social Security deficit grows and nobody comes up with the formula to solve both problems. Although it may be that, according to José Luis Ábalos, there is one that can satisfy both needs. The Minister of Development raised yesterday to the other parties to take the expense of maintenance of the highways of the Budgets, which would lead to the collection of tolls for their conservation. His approach is not new. Ábalos has been warning for months that Spain must rethink how to sustain its vast high capacity road network of more than 18,300 kilometers given that taxes do not give more than itself. What I had not raised until now was that, in the debate that wants to keep with the other parties to discuss the model, it is included allocate part of the income generated by these tolls to pensions, health or education. The network, the minister said, has a "very high" maintenance cost that can not be supported by the Budgets. "We have to agree on how we want or can hold on the principle of territorial equity," said the minister at an event organized by the College of Civil Engineers.
Ábalos warned that if it is already difficult to maintain the roads in the current context, more will be the case if "the preachers who say that the taxes have to be lowered" arrive. "If we enter less, we will have to spend less, not everything but in some cases, and there is always a pagan", He said. The minister said that although infrastructure is important, "so are pensions, education and health." And if you bet to conserve the roads with public funds, "will have to raise the tax burden."
The tolls have been the subject of strong debate in recent months. The PSOE, as Ábalos insisted yesterday, is in favor of opening a debate on how to conserve the network, whether through taxes or through the generalization of tolls. Although they publicly deny that this is their thesis, the Socialists have aligned themselves with the theses of the concessionaire sector, which advocate the introduction of soft tolls to cover the maintenance costs of the network once the construction costs are already covered. With this, public funds could be released to allocate to other needs such as health, education or pensions.