Citizens of Krk and Istria want the tolls to be discontinued.
Transport Minister Oleg Butković has responded to the demand issued by the inhabitants of the Kvarner region, Istria and the wider Rijeka area on abolishing the tolls for the bridge towards the island of Krk, as well as for the Učka tunnel, reports morski.hr on August 6, 2018.
The locals want to have the same rights as people elsewhere in the country. They say that it is not fair that the usage of roads which are not part of the motorway system should be charged, while the road infrastructure in the rest of the country is completely free. As examples, in addition to the decision to enable free use of a tunnel through Biokovo, they also list the newly-constructed bridge to the island of Čiovo, as well as the future bridge to the peninsula of Pelješac. There will be no tolls for these two bridges.
“First of all, it is not fair to compare the Biokovo tunnel with the Učka tunnel and the Krk bridge. The reason is that the tolls for the Krk bridge are not charged to residents of Krk, Cres, Lošinj, Rab, etc. So, everybody who has the residence registered there does not have to pay the tolls. Secondly, the total debt of the Croatian Motorways public company is 5.5 billion euro. We took into consideration the demand of towns and municipalities in the Imotski region, where the demographic situation is much worse and more complex than on the island of Krk. We have made a demographic and political decision that was the best at that moment,” said Butković for Media Servis.
“The Biokovo tunnel is not part of a motorway. Similarly, the bridge between the mainland and the island of Krk is not a formal part of a motorway but part of the access roads leading to a motorway. That means that the bridge should not have any tolls. We are in talks with the World Bank and creditors because that is part of the total debt. However, I repeat, to compare the situation with the Krk bridge and people who live there and are exempt from paying the tolls with the situation in Imotski is not fair. But, we have launched the discussions and we should wait until the end of the year to have the final decision,” said the minister.
“The Učka tunnel is not under the authority of the Croatian government and the Croatian Motorways public company. It is run as a concession, together with the Istrian motorways. It is impossible for the government and the Croatian Motorways to decide on the abolition of the tolls for the Učka tunnel because that is part of the talks and an agreement between the existing and future concessionaire. We are going to change the concession contract due to the construction of a 150-million-euro worth section of the full-profile motorway between the Učka tunnel and Pazin. That is, the second phase of the second tunnel tube is being prepared and this is a completely separate issue from Croatian Roads and the Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway company,” concluded Transport Minister Butković.
Translated from morski.hr.