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INSIDECOSTARICA.COM | COSTA RICA  NEWS |   Tuesday 22 November 2011

Number Of Vehicles In Costa Rica Grows And Expected To Double In Ten Years

Some 1.060.000 vehicle owners will be paying their Marchamo before the end of the year, some 10% more than last year, an increase after a decline possibly produced by the economic crisis in the two previous years.


In ten years, it is predicted that the number of vehicles in the country will double, which brings the question... where and on what will all these vehicles circulate?

Apparently there is no easy answer, or better yet, no answer at all, because what is being spent on new roads in the country is minimal.

The increase in vehicles is good news for the government coffers, as it expects to this year collect some ˘128 billion colones. But, only a portion of that actually goes towards building and maintaining roads.

Lets look at the breakdown of every Marchamo colon.

About 19% of every colon paid on the Marchamo goes to towards the mandatory insurance, the fee collected and used by the state insurer, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), which this year increased premiums by 40% on average.

Of the estimate total, ˘17 billion colones, which is the amount of outstanding traffic fines, goes to the Consejo de Seguridad Vial (COSEVI) - Road Safety Council to equip the traffic police and for minimal work on road signs.

61% of everything you pay is for taxes, which is divided up into equal parts for theHacienda (treasury), the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (CCSS) and the COSEVI.

So, in actuality, the amount you pay for the Marchamo on your vehicle, which we can assume is for roads and transportation infrastructure, is ˘39 billion colones.

The same occurs with the tax on gasoline.

We all assume that the heavy tax placed on gasoline goes towards road infrastructure, but in actuality, only a portion - one third at best - of the ˘320 billion colones is applied to roads.

The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and the Protección Ambiental (Environment Protection) get a share. The bulk goes to the central government coffers as some type of tax or other, leaving the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (CONAVI) - National Roads Authority - with only ˘70 billion colones.

That amount is broken down to 75% going to the national road network, some 4.500 kilometres which requires a minimum of ˘11 million colones per kilometre in maintenance and 25% to municipalities for roadwork, which we assume is spent, but the conditions of the roads tell a different story.

In reality, the CONAVI needs more than double what is collected to start making a difference in road maintenance and that is not to add for new road construction.

What say, we ask Santa this year for a tax just for roads?



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