The notion of Toll, linked to the terms peatge (from Catalan) and page (French), refers to right from a person to transit for a certain space. By extension, the site where said permit is paid and the payment that is specified in itself is known as a toll.
For instance: “The government announced a 20% increase in the toll of national routes”, “To get to San Bautista, I have to spend 350 pesos on tolls”, “It is assumed that the payment of the toll has to serve to improve the infrastructure of the roads, something that does not happen”.
The notion of tolls varied throughout the history. Currently, it is associated with an amount that must be paid when it is intended use a certain infrastructure with a means of transport. The toll can be applied to a road (also called route); a freeway; a navigation channel; etc.
An old version of the toll was called portazgo and it was applied in the kingdoms of Navarra, Castile and Aragon to charge for the right to pass through the land of the lord or king or to enter the town. It is worth mentioning that it was an indirect tax, although it could also be executed at the time of the potential usufruct of the areas regulated by it, generally markets and fairs. This direct predecessor of the toll could be temporarily canceled by the highest authority of a territory if it deemed it necessary.
The toll can make it possible to recover the investment that is carried out in the development of the infrastructure and also pay for its maintenance. In some cases, the State manages the infrastructure in question and collects the toll; in others, it is a company that is in charge of the management through a concession granted by the State.
The advantage of a toll is that it is paid only by those who use the infrastructure. In this way, if a citizen does not use the toll road or tunnel, they do not have to pay anything. The opposite would happen if a tax at a general level for all inhabitants.
The toll can also exist outside of the aforementioned road types; Given the congestion that takes place in most of the major urban centers in the world, it is increasingly common to charge a congestion fee, which aims to moderate the amount of vehicles entering these areas simultaneously. This type of toll is used to cover costs related to the infrastructure of the control systems, as well as to finance roads and improve public transport.
Let’s see other types of tolls below:
* opened: it is charged in several booths that are located along a road, arranged at a certain distance from each other;
* closed: consists of charging only once, after leaving a road, counting the distance traveled since entering it. This can be done manually, by picking up a card at the entrance, or automatically, using the device known as electronic toll;
* yearly: consists of the payment once a year of a certain amount, which is certified by a sticker that is attached to the car’s windshield and authorizes the driver to move freely on all highways. This type of toll is applied, for example, in Switzerland, and must be paid by all users regardless of the frequency with which they travel on the roads (this includes tourists);
* shadow: a company Commercial is in charge of building and financing the highway and the toll is paid by the Administration. This system avoids default in the short term, but it can lead to an economic failure in the long term.