Bulgarian toll roads. How will they come to be?

After Prime Minsiter Boyko Borisov announced last week that the Bulgarian state will take on the task of setting up a toll system if the public procurement keeps stalling, there are now several uncertainties as to how this should happen.

What are the problems? Borisov threatened that the Parliament would vote for a governmentally funded company to carry out the procedures surrounding the tollway system if the public procurement (currently in a standstill) does not proceed. Minister of regional development Nikolay Nankov also confirmed the creation of the rumored company, but assured that the public procurement for finding a firm that will implement the system is still ongoing. This causes the very first and basic problem in the entire "toll fiasco" - the idea of a tollroad system is that the money collected will immediately go for infrastructure. (as governed by the law) 
So why announce a public procurement in the first place? A question that still remains unanswered.
The second problem goes hand in hand with the first one - how will the state's company go about delivery, montage and technical support of the toll facilities? Currently this aspect is under the protection of the Public Procurement Act. 

At the same time the chairman of the Road Infrastructure Agency - Doncho Atanasov commented on the prospect of a governmentally funded company and expressed his strong belief that this is the only way to go, as the institution that would support the toll system, would have to self-finance. 

The questionable public procurement envisages a different toll method for different types of vehicles. The tax for lorries will be calcuated accordingly to the distance they've travelled on a particular road, while automobiles will pay for an e-vignette (currently vignettes are only available as stickers for the car). Government officials also believe that about 50-55% of all roads within the countries borders will end up being in the toll system. 

If the public procurement does not work out the company appointed by the government will use money from the budget to set up the system, get it on it's feet and use the initial revenue to restore the money taken from the state. Afterwards the system will, in theory, self-support itself as all the toll taxes will be directly invested into building and reparing roads. 

Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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