Antonio M. Romero
Tuesday, 13 February 2024
Mayors of the Costa del Sol have thrown their support behind the Malaga province Partido Popular leader's demand that the Spain's central government should suspend the AP-7 motorway toll charges until the C1 Cercanias (commuter) train line from Malaga is extended to Marbella and Estepona.
The councillors of the consulted municipalities, all of them Partido Popular run except Casares, which belongs to the Izquierda Unida (United Left), Malaga provincial authority president Francisco Salado and Mancomunidad de la Costa del Sol president Manuel Cardeña, all agreed that the temporary measure would help to improve mobility along the coast. They also urged the government to support the extension of the railway to Estepona and the Campo de Gibraltar.
Partido Popular leader in Malaga province, Patricia Navarro, demanded the action last Thursday evening, when during a TV interview co-produced by SUR, Navarro slammed Spain's secretary of state for transport, José Antonio Santano, for saying he does not have the necessary information to implement the line “in the short term”.
"The A-7 motorway has been too small for years to absorb the high level of urban and interurban traffic. If urgent measures are not taken with immediate effect, such as suspending the motorway toll, which is also the most expensive in Spain, the growth of the Costa del Sol will be severely hampered," Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz said.
Estepona mayor José María García Urbano said: "it is necessary to adopt measures that provide a solution to mobility in such a dynamic area of the country as the Costa del Sol and the metropolitan area of Malaga".
Salado said "the mobility problems along the Costa del Sol require short, medium and long term actions" and that it would be a "very serious" irresponsibility to not invest in a powerful railway transport system along the coast of Malaga, which should include Axarquia and a connection to Gibraltar.
"In the meantime, these investments must happen, because neither in Madrid, nor in Barcelona, nor in Valencia nor in the Basque Country are transport infrastructures called into question when they are necessary, the toll on the Costa del Sol motorway must be released, subsidised or suspended," he said. "It is the only alternative in the short term to avoid the traffic jams that are becoming more frequent and that affect and harm thousands of workers, students, families and businesses every day," Salado added.
Torremolinos mayor Margarita del Cid also supported the move, saying that the suspension of tolls would be temporary compensation while other urgent needs are addressed.
Mijas mayor Ana Mula said the suspension of the toll is "reasonable" and would be "a good solution to speed up traffic" in the area, whilst also defending the government's "definitive commitment" to the extension of the local train route. Mula's counterpart in Benalmádena, Juan Antonio Lara, supported the request of the PP president, while Manilva mayor José Manuel Fernández said that while the extension of the train to the western part of the province is coming, it is "positive an alternative proposal such as the release of the AP-7 to connect this part of the Costa del Sol with Malaga city and even with the easternmost coast".
Casares mayor Juan Luis Villalón said his party, Izquierda Unida, has been calling for years for the suspension of the tolls on the motorway as the current route "does not meet the minimum requirements for this type of road".
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