It is hoped that there will be no more toll booths for the Soller tunnel next year. | Archive

The Council of Majorca, which has vowed to get rid of the toll to use the Soller tunnel and to make the tunnel free from next year, faces a bill of between 17 and 18 million euros in order to do so.

Its legal people are studying an external report by a firm that has looked at the current relationship for operating the tunnel's toll booths. This has concluded that the concessionaire could want anything up to 38 million euros to compensate it for loss of profit from the six years which remain on the contract.

The report suggests, however, that the settlement could be roughly half this amount, adding that the concessionaire is bound to take the matter to court.

The Council appears confident that there will be a lower compensation figure and that once the court has agreed this, the tunnel will become free for users. A snag is where the compensation money will come from. One suggestion is that the regional government will help out through savings made from discounts to use the tunnel for residents of Soller and Fornalutx. The cost of this discount is expected to rise to twelve million euros over six years.