The next national government, which should emerge after the 10 November general election, will have an official request in its inbox from the Diputación, the Malaga provincial authority, to abolish tolls on the AP-7 motorway along the western Costa del Sol.
On Wednesday, members of the Diputación, which controls some province-wide services, voted to lobby the Infrastructure ministry in Madrid, which is responsible for the toll motorway, to "immediately" take steps to make the road between Fuengirola and Manilva free to use.
Most expensive toll
Congestion on the older, free A-7 coastal road has led local politicians to increasingly call for the parallel AP-7 toll road inland to be opened to all traffic. Currently, the AP-7 is the most expensive toll road per kilometre to drive on in Spain, says the Diputación.
The move to try to force central government to act was approved by the ruling conservative PP and centrist Ciudadanos coalition. However left-wing parties, PSOE and Adelante Málaga, abstained.
A spokesperson for the provincial authority said that the toll motorway had now been open for twenty years and had become the fourth busiest toll motorway in the country, with more than 35,000 vehicles using it every day, including almost 3,000 heavy vehicles such as lorries and buses. He added that the A-7 coastal road carries between five and ten times more traffic than the AP-7 toll road and is much older, with inadequate entrance and exit lanes, which increase the number of accidents and traffic jams.
In addition, with the planned growth in local population, it is feared that the existing A-7 will not be able to cope much longer. By opening up the AP-7 to all traffic, travel times could be reduced along the Costa del Sol for both residents and tourists.
The Diputación is suggesting that the older A-7 should be then turned into a long boulevard with public transport lanes and more landscaping. However the PSOE opposition severely criticised the PP and Ciudadanos coalition saying the proposal was "taking the mickey" and "political propaganda" ahead of the general election.
The PSOE members said that PP members at the Diputación had voted against a PSOE proposal two years ago to waive tolls on the AP-7 each time there was an accident or tailback on the nearby A-7.