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Collecting tolls

Recerca | 05/12/2008

Toward a new infrastructure management model

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A new model is proposed for Catalonia, in accordance with formulae already applied in parts of Europe and the US. The management of the transport networks, including the tolls of the main motorways, would be completely decentralized. It would not be necessary to alter the ownership of the state infrastructures.

Tolls, and other responsibilities in the state-owned infrastructures, could be fully taken over by the Generalitat. This is stated by Germà Bel, a lecturer and consultant for different governments, in a report delivered to According to Bel, mature economies (and the Spanish economy is close to this) tend to invest less in new construction and much more in maintenance and organization. The key point in the capacity to decide will thus be control of the management.

The author maintains that, in relation to motorways, a successfully proven model would be that of the US or some European countries, in which the federal authorities are in charge of the design and execution of the main thoroughfares, but then each territory takes over the management. The decision on whether or not to apply tolls, to reduce them or increase them, would thus be more in tune with the local governments and with the population of the surrounding area.

As for trains, Germà Bel offers a similar theory, above all in relation to suburban services: for long-distance services a greater weight of the central authorities would possibly be recommended for regulation (prices, frequencies, standards). With regard to air transport, he would be in favour of separating air navigation (maintaining it on a European and Spanish level) and airport management, which could be completely decentralized, including the investment, promotion and slot-assignment policies, within the margins of the regulations established.

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