OPINION

A strange concession to make

Anyone choosing to travel on the Athens-Lamia national road these days will be subjected to some bizarre treatment that can only be described as surreal: Drivers will have to pay toll charges for roads that are intended to be constructed at some point in the future and in a completely different location. Employing this rather original tactic, the country’s Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works has awarded concession agreements for a private company to collect the tolls on the Athens-Lamia network. The money the company gathers from these tollbooths will then be used to construct the Ionia Odos which is to run along Greece’s western coast. As a result of this strange concession, drivers have seen successive hikes in toll fares on a section of the national road north of Athens. For example, charges on the Athens-Lamia stretch of the highway are set to increase by 57 percent in the span of 20 months. And all of this for projects that will be used by future generations and for which construction companies will charge all over again.