The outgoing Greek government issued a legislative order essentially forbidding a planned increase in the toll fees in the greater Athens area’s sole tollway Attiki Odos. The government order followed a a recommendation by Transportation Minister Christos Spirtzis.
The government cited what it called “defense of public interests and the interests of taxpayers” in issuing the abrupt decision, which comes less than two weeks before the general elections on July 7.
The announcement by the private concessionaire toll rate hike caused anger on the part of the Tsipras government and especially the Transportation Minister, Christos Spirtzis.
According to naftemporiki daily, Spirtzis, who will vie for a deputy’s seat on SYRIZA’s ballot in the northern Athens district, which includes many of the commuters that use the tollway, referred to “profiteers” taking advantage of the pre-election period to “establish baseless rights and economic benefits on the back of the highway’s commuters.”
In a press release issued last week, Attiki Odos said it was absolutely within its rights, as emanating from a 1996 contract signed by the concessionaire and the Greek state, to raise toll rates from 2.80 euros to three euros per use.
Additionally, the company said the contract foresees the “unhindered and unilateral” determination of the level of toll rates, as long as they do not exceed the maximum set price in the contract, based on the duration of the concession, a rate which today hovers at 3.77 euros.
Attiki Odos managing company wanted to raise the toll fees twice, one on July 1 from 2,80 euros to 3,00 euros and a second hike to 3,30 euros on January 1, 2020.
Following the ministerial decision, Attiki Odos announced that it will turn to Greek courts to solve the issue.