Restarted Greek Toll Roads Cash Cows

ATHENS – Tolls from four major highways  on which construction stopped for two years during a crushing economic crisis brought in 1.25 billion euros ($1.73 billion) from 2008-13  Transport Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has told Parliament.

Chrysochoidis, responding to a question by an Independent Greeks MP on the monies realized through the road was the first Transport Minister to make a report on the highways, where toll fares has raised anger. Unlike many toll roads where drivers pay higher fees the further the drive, Greek toll roads have a set fare even if a driver is going only a short distance.

According to the data presented to the House, Nea Odos saw the biggest toll revenues in in the five-year period of the four highways on which work that have recently restarted, reaching 452 million euros. Olympia Odos generated 445.2 million euros, Aegean Motorways 324.5 million euros and Kentriki Odos 33 million euros.

Meanwhile, by the end of 2015 when the construction on the four highways is slated to end, Nea Odos will have received a total in state subsidies and claims of 745 million euros. That figure will come to 1.17 billion euros for Olympia Odos, 960 million euros for Aegean Motorways and 800 million euros for Kentriki Odos.

Assuming steady toll revenues and the funding and claims, the four projects will have received around 5 billion euros by the end of 2015. That doesn’t include drivers who had refused to pay as part of the “We Won’t Pay” protest against austerity before the government starting fining them.