Sharp rise in Malgara tolls

Motorists pulling into the tollgates at Malgara, near Thessaloniki, yesterday had a shock when they were asked to pay a 2.80-euro fee instead of the regular 2-euro charge. The Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Ministry, which had not announced the 40 percent increase in advance, attributed it to this year’s two-stage increase in value-added tax. But in a statement the ministry conceded that the hike in charges had been introduced to offset the losses the government has suffered after revoking a contract for the construction of new tollgate at Aiginio, in Pieria prefecture. Last year, while in opposition, PASOK had called for the Aiginio tollgate project to be revoked. But Kathimerini understands the nonoperation of the new tollgate is costing between 650,000 and 800,000 euros per month. Authorities are planning to set up new tollgates on the the stretch of highway connecting Elefsina, Corinth and Patra next year.