The Government will advance the law to allow municipalities to charge an urban toll

At the beginning of last March, the Government of Spain, through the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, confirmed that by the end of next year 2023 a new law could arrive that would open the possibility for heThe municipalities charged a fee or toll to all those drivers who wanted to drive through the Low Emission Zones (ZBE) of the cities, a priori, regardless of the environmental labeling of the cars interested in crossing the aforementioned areas. Now, Minister Raquel Sánchez has confirmed that this law will advance her arrival to the date originally planned.

In the middle of last year 2021, the Law 7/2021, of May 20, on climate change and energy transitionby which he made effective the project that all those towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants should have an urban nucleus adapted to a low-emission zone. In most cases, this area will be in the historic center of said urban environment, although it should not necessarily be located in such a place, in fact, Madrid already has two spaces of this type: Madrid Distrito Centro and Plaza Elíptica.

In an initial idea, these areas should be closed to common traffic that did not have a Zero or Eco environmental label from the DGT, or that was not considered public transport. However, this measure could change radically in the coming months, since the Government opened the door to the arrival of a new law that will allow municipalities to charge drivers a fee or toll to be able to circulate within these areas of low contamination. At first, most users were quite amazed, since this new law will eliminate with a stroke of the pen the initiative eco friendly to close the streets to the world’s most polluting road traffic and will allow them access as long as they pay this fee.

A priori, the municipalities will be able to open traffic in the ZBE as long as the fee or toll for polluting cars is paid
A priori, the municipalities will be able to open traffic in the ZBE as long as the fee or toll for polluting cars is paid

In recent hours, the Minister Raquel Sánchez has appeared during the presentation of the Global Mobility Call, where she has admitted the intention to bring forward the arrival of this new section in the Law on Sustainable Mobility and Financing of Transport to this year, a few months ahead of schedule. Specifically, this law will give the possibility to collect the aforementioned urban toll for access to certain areas, but also the so-called “congestion charges”, whose application or purpose is still unknown.

«Our intention is to take the preliminary draft law to the Council of Ministers for a second reading soon, after incorporating the contributions and observations of the rest of the ministries. But, in any case, the scenario that we set ourselves is to be able to approve the law during this year. We said that we would approve it in 2023, so we are going ahead of time, and our intention would be to approve it during this year. Indeed, the possibility of establishing rates by the municipalities to charge for circulation in low emission zones is foreseen », Minister Sánchez assured during her presentation last Thursday, May 26.

According to the new urban circulation law, it will contemplate and will provide coverage for its implementation in each city council, who will make the decision to use this possibility or not, as well as the economic range that will be charged to all those affected by the application of this new law. Additionally, the Minister assured that although these criteria are mainly designed to be adopted by urban environments with more than 50,000 inhabitants, the truth is that any population with a smaller number of people will also be able to take advantage of the possibility of closing the most polluting road traffic and apply this circulation rate.

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