For cars (class 1 vehicle), prices increase in particular by 4,526% on the Cofiroute network (Atlantic), 4,620% for Sanef (North and East), 4,683% for Escota (Côte d'Azur), 4,743% for Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône (APRR), 4,758% for AREA (Alps), 4,823% for Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF) and 4,806% for SAPN (Normandy), except on the A14 where the toll jumps of 9,89%.
The average increase is “significantly lower” than the 6,33% inflation measured by INSEE at the end of October, the ministry had underlined in December.
Several motorway companies have decided on commercial measures to limit the increase, for example for short journeys or electric vehicles.
Tolls had increased by an average of 2% in 2022, 0,4% in 2021, 0,8% in 2020 and 1,9% in 2019.
Toll prices are revalued every year, according to a calculation that takes into account at least 70% of inflation (excluding tobacco) over twelve months until October, and any increases depending on the work planned by the various dealers in their contracts. Added this year, for the last time, the catch-up of the toll freeze decided in 2015 by Ségolène Royal, then minister.
"Go get the money"
Two decrees published on Tuesday approve amendments to the contracts binding the State to the companies APRR, AREA, Sanef and SAPN - criticized last year by the Transport Regulatory Authority (ART) -, which provide for new work. Incidentally, APRR's domain is expanding with the takeover of 16 km of the A6 motorway, which until now has been maintained by the State in Ile-de-France.
Most motorway companies are controlled by three groups, the French Vinci and Eiffage as well as the Spanish Abertis.
In this context, Le Canard enchaîné recently found a report from the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) for 2021, which would point to the profits made by concession companies and would propose to reduce toll rates by 60% on almost two thirds of the network.
The satirical weekly accused the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, of having "stifled" this report.
The government has two ongoing disputes with motorway companies, which are contesting a decision in the 2020 finance law to index the land use planning tax (TAT) to inflation, to finance the Seine-Nord-Europe canal , and who no longer want to pay an "exceptional voluntary contribution", explained Tuesday the Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu.
The report in question "is used to prepare and support the government's arguments" in these two cases, "which explains why it has not been published", he added to the National Assembly.
It is for Mr. Béchu to "obtain more taxation from the highways" by "(going) to seek the money within the framework of these profits which are important", and to better negotiate the concessions to the expiration of current contracts (between 2031 and 2036 for large groups).
The much higher than expected profitability of motorway companies, pointed out in his article by Le Canard enchaîné, would only make "three lines" in the report, Bercy told AFP.