game of fools around tariff increases

The A10 motorway, at the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines toll (Yvelines), July 30, 2022.

Under pressure from the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, the banks have agreed to limit the increase in their prices to 2% in 2023. The Minister Delegate for Transport, Clément Beaune, will also well with motorway companies?

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The laxity of the State in the face of motorway companies

From the end of July, he set the limits of the discussion: " [Il est] inconceivable that there is an increase [du tarif des péages] in February [2023] from 7% to 8% »he said, while acknowledging that it needed to be discussed with dealers, “whose investments are also subject to the weight of inflation”. This dialogue began the first week of September and will continue at the end of the month.

In their contracts, motorway companies have a clause that indexes their prices to inflation (excluding tobacco) recorded in October, up to 70%. It is also necessary to take into account supplements which depend on the additional financing requested by the State. Thus, for the Montpellier bypass, ordered from Vinci Autoroutes in April (270 million euros of investment), the company was promised a price increase, which in 2023 would be 0.264% on the Autoroutes du sud network. from France.

Another example: to finance the barrier-free toll project – known as “free flow” – on the A13 (that of Normandy), the tariff surplus granted to the SAPN network is 0.22%. To this will also be added, in 2023, the last deadline for the catch-up of the 2015 tariff freeze imposed by Ségolène Royal (+ 0.2% on average, according to the motorway companies).

What will the total be? It is necessary to wait until mid-November to know the inflation rate for October, but the motorway companies have discussed with the ministry an increase of up to 8%. A surprising figure, because it is far above the result of the formula provided for in the contracts, which would be closer to 5% to 5.5%.

"Excess profitability"

No doubt this is a technique intended to make users accept a sharp increase (closer to 5% than the 2% of 2021), but all the same less important than that agitated at the start. Both parties hope to come out on top: the operators, by obtaining a significant revaluation, and the ministry, by claiming to have defended purchasing power.

Motorway companies consider this increase essential, arguing that they are subject to inflation on the works (whose prices soar by more than 10%) and on their operating costs. “We are not at all in the situation of oil companies, which benefit from the rise in prices without do nothing »insists Pierre Coppey, president of Vinci Autoroutes.

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