The Asturian Parliament unanimously calls for the elimination of the Huerna freeway toll that Álvarez-Cascos prolonged till 2050 | Spain | EUROtoday

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Common entrance within the Asturian Parliament to ask the Government of Pedro Sánchez to cancel the toll on the AP-66 motorway, popularly often called the Huerna motorway (the valley that crosses between Asturias and León), with a size of 78 kilometers. For the primary time, all of the political events of the General Board of the Principality have agreed to help a non-legal proposal introduced by Foro Asturias through which the central Executive is urged to “initiate the procedures to eliminate this toll” and the Principality to be “an active part of this procedure, commissioning a study in which the legal avenues for the annulment of the irregularly granted extension are explored and the economic costs that the assumption of direct management of the AP-66 would have for the State. ″. They all voted in favor of eliminating a payment that, together with the toll on the A-6 in Adanero, brings the cost of tariffs on the Asturias-Madrid-Asturias route to around sixty euros.

The favorable position of the parties in Asturias is caused by the opinion of the European Commission, which weeks ago censored the extension of the toll that, in 2000, the then Minister of Development of the Popular Party, Francisco Álvarez-Cascos, granted to the concession company of the AP-66 highway until 2050. According to Brussels, in response to a complaint filed by the former Podemos deputy Daniel Ripa, that operation was illegal and was contrary to the law among other reasons to, according to the EU, obtain more money from the subsequent privatization of Autopista Concesionaria Asturleonesa (Aucalsa) in 2003, a company that operates the Huerna.

The only deputy from Foro Asturias, a party founded by Álvarez-Cascos, was the one who presented the non-law proposal, and it was the PP, where the former president of the Principality and former vice president of the Government spent most of his political career, which supported the writing of Adrián Pumares, thus avoiding the political cost that would have had to be the only party to vote against, as popular leaders have admitted. The popular deputy Pedro de Rueda defended the vote of his group, expressed doubts about the suppression of the toll and charged against Minister Óscar Puente. “Recently, he said that a toll would be eliminated in Alicante and he already said not to get excited in other territories.”

The state of affairs of Huerna, which has a price of 15 euros per step and is pending the brand new reductions introduced by the ministry, is within the fingers of Europe and the central Executive should reply to the Commission's report. Brussels provides the Government of Spain time to current new arguments that defend the legality of the operation or suggest the way it will regularize the state of affairs. The infringement file acknowledges the identical violation of neighborhood laws within the extension of the AP-9, in Galicia, the place the BNG raised a movement urging the Xunta to require the Ministry of Transport to provoke the procedures to reverse the toll. An identical initiative had the unanimity of the Cortes of Castilla y León.

The socialist deputy Ángel Morales affirms that the European Commission report “demonstrates that the arguments of the PP and Mr. Álvarez-Cascos to defend the extension are not valid, that the benefits were increased in a stratospheric way, that when in 2000 they approved the expansion Aucalsa was a public company, but it was already known that it was going to be privatized.”

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The Minister of Development of the Principality, Alejandro Calvo, signifies that from the autonomous Executive “we do not want to stay still, we pick up that gauntlet and what we are going to do is analyze in more depth legally the possibilities that this file could lead to the reversal of the toll . “This takes time, it would want administrative actions, it clearly has a authorized evaluation and what the Government of Asturias goes to do is assist and supply data and experiences to see if that’s doable.”

The ministerial position was verbalized a few days ago in Oviedo by the Government Commissioner for the Atlantic corridor, José Antonio Sebastián. During his visit he assured without getting wet: “The central Executive is obvious about tolls on the highways and, because of this, it’s engaged on the progressive elimination of them, so long as clearly the contract they’ve is feasible.”

Sebastián explained that the Ministry of Transportation is studying each of the cases “and has been detailing point by point how all these highways have been extended, even many years before the end of the contract, even with 'ad hoc' legal modifications to this modification.”

The Huerna highway was tolled from the beginning and the first vehicles that traveled on it paid Aucalsa 785 pesetas. A distant figure that has been increasing over the years.

The President of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, promised in the 2004 campaign to eliminate the toll. Since then, two partial reductions have been applied. One for heavy vehicles and another for those who use the highway more than once a month. Now, the Ministry of Transport promises further reductions, depending on the use of this step.

In 2023, 3.23 million vehicles circulated on the Huerna highway, 3.93% more than in 2022. The average daily intensity last year was 8,852 vehicles.

A historic challenge

The Cantabrian mountain range has always been the great challenge for infrastructure between Asturias and the Plateau. The endless trips through the Port of Pajares along the N-630 or the eternal trips by train along the port's obsolete railway ramp have been challenges whose technical resolution has taken nearly half a century. The history of the highway between Campomanes (Lena) and Onzonilla (León) began earlier, at the beginning of the 70s, when the need to create an alternative means of communication between the two communities arose.

The works were awarded in 1975, and in December of that year the Asturleonesa Concessionary Highway (Aucalsa) was established. The first road was budgeted at 70,000 million pesetas and the first earthworks were carried out in June 1976.

The figures handled during those years were very striking: 1,300 workers, 90 kilometers of high mountain route, with seven tunnels with a combined length of 8,302 meters and six viaducts, with a length of two kilometers.

After three years of delays, on August 11, 1983, the first phase of the highway was opened to traffic, with the presence of the then Minister of Public Works, Julián Campo Sainz de Rozas, and the president of the Principality, Pedro de Silva.

Many others followed this first inauguration. In 1985, the projects for the second carriageway between the south mouth of the Negrón tunnel and the Magdalena junction were drawn up. Also that year, the second Cosera tunnel and seven viaducts were opened to traffic. Subsequently, the second Entrerregueras tunnel and the Oblanca tunnel, the Pando and Vegaviesca tunnels and the Barrios tunnel would come into service.

The completion of the freeway works would lastly are available 1997, with the opening to site visitors of the second El Negrón tunnel, greater than 4 kilometers lengthy, for which an funding of seven.4 billion pesetas was wanted. 21 years had handed.