Colombians have to start preparing for pay for the valuation that they have obtained their properties or that they will have in the future through the great roads that are being built in the country. The government of President Gustavo Petro is determined to start collecting this tax, after working on its regulation for several years.

The idea is to implement the first pilots in the middle of this year to those who have properties located at a distance of five kilometers on both sides of the road.

(Read also: Charge valuation for roads, the exit to avoid raising tolls)

To start charging, the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI), initially, prioritized a package of 18 projects which are located between different departments and total 3,047 kilometers in length.

In this group there are initiatives that have not yet started construction, such as the Magdalena 1 and 2 trunk lines, the ALO Sur, Accesos Norte 2, Conexión Norte and Neiva-Espinal-Girardot, as well as projects that are in their final stretch such as Conexión Pacífico 1 and 3 , Bucaramanga-Barranca-Yondó and Villavicencio-Yopal.

But in addition, the entity is analyzing another eight projects, totaling approximately 1,740 kilometers, in order to decide if it applies for this valuation tax. These are 3G and 4G initiatives that are already underway in terms of construction, such as Ruta del Sol 3, Tercer Carril Bogotá-Girardot, Accesos Norte 1, Accesos Norte 1 and Girardot-Ibagué-Cajamarca.

(Also: Eje Cafetero: increase complaints about toll costs in the region)

The proposal to collect this tax comes from the tax reform (Law 1819) that was fulfilled in 2016 during the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos. There it was established that the collection will be made before or during the work. However, according to the Ministry of Transportation, analysis of experiences such as the one in Bogotá indicate that the benefits translate into greater value even after the works are completed.

For this reason, the current government is evaluating the possibility of incorporating This charge can also be made after the work is finished. In this sense, the feasibility of three projects that have already been completed is being studied: Autopista al Mar 1, Autopista Conexión Pacífico 2 and the Cúcuta Metropolitan Area.

Through these 26 projects, 13.4 billion pesos would be collectedof which, 9.6 trillion pesos would arrive for those that are already guaranteed and 3.8 trillion pesos for those that are being examined.

We are not clear about the schedule, what are the times to execute this tax, which from the point of view of its implementation is complex

The route with which more money is expected to be collected is Chirajara-Fundadores (via al Llano), about 963,000 million pesos. Then appear, according to initial estimates, Villavicencio-Yopal with 827,300 million pesos and Autopista Conexión Pacífico 1 that will contribute 824,071 million pesos in revenue.

However, on several occasions the Minister of Transportation, Guillermo Reyes, has mentioned that the collection could add between 18 billion and 20 billion pesos, taking into account additional projects. This figure is equal to what the Government expects to collect only in 2023 due to the tax reform which was found last year and includes, among others, higher taxes on businessmen and the mining-energy sector.

This money for valuation will come out of the pocket of large owners, not low-income families or those who will have small plots, according to what Minister Reyes said in recent days.

(Also read: Neighboring properties to road works would pay a whole tax for valuation)

But Fedesarrollo research associate Juan Benavides thinks that everyone should be chargedwithout any type of exception, because «influence fights can be presented to see who is and who is not» covered by this tax.

This means that the owners of small plots of land and farmers can paybecause a new route translates into lower transportation costs and arrival times to the markets.

The PPP model was successful and it is not a matter of replacing a model that has been successful with the valorization instrument

The resources that will finally be obtained will enter the Alternative Payment Sources Fund (FIP) and that is where the use of these will be determined. The minister has stated that it could be used to finance road works, eliminate tolls and compensate for the money that will no longer be received this year for the freezing of the rates of the 143 tolls that are in charge of Invías and ANI, a measure that came into force on January 17.

However, this last point is one of the issues that most concerns the Colombian Chamber of Infrastructure (CCI). «We are not clear about the schedule, what are the times to execute this system, which somehow from the point of view of its implementation is complex,» said Juan Martín Caicedo, president of the CCI.

For this reason, he considers it vital that the Government specify «the times are very adequate, what is the planned schedule to put this valuation mechanism into operation, because it could go 3 or 4 years without the country implementing it. In addition to established a serious schedule that gives confidence to the country«.

(Also: ‘Valuation charge downloading production costs’, warns Fedepapa)

They are also concerned that the concession model could be set aside, arguing that now the works can be financed with the valuation. «The PPP model was successful and it is not about replacing a model that has been successful by the instrument of valorization, I do not believe that this is the Government’s claim, but it is worth putting the critical path of its implementation on the black and white board».

Like the ICC president, the Fedesarrollo research associate believes that the implementation of this tax could take several years. «For this to be ready in less than a year is almost impossible», although the pilots who are considering it could enter this year to test the processes.

(Also read: All Colombians will end up paying for the non-increase in tolls)

pending tasks

To implement the first pilots of the valuation tax, according to the Ministry of Transportation, it is still necessary to regularize the FIP and enable the procedural issue of valuation with the Ministry of Finance. The first process is expected to be ready towards the month of June of this year.

In relation to the stages and each of the projects, the entity assured that these will have a maturation time between 12 and 18 months, since profiling is required. In addition, it is essential to carry out a payment capacity study for each one, as well as to create the technological and support infrastructure in the sector for the valuation process.

(In context: Atlántico toll rates will not decrease: why?)

The update of the Multipurpose Cadastre so that the properties are clearly delimited, establish the appropriate collection mechanisms and define specifically will be the uses that will be given to these resourcesare other pending tasks, according to Juan Benavides.

Although the experts who participated in the construction of the regulation of this issue stated that censuses of the properties can be carried out to find out their specifications and how this tax will be collected, since people who have fattening land cannot be charged the same, to build hotels or those who have small businesses. So far, only the one on the Cartagena-Barranquilla road is ready.

How much will be paid? This is probably due to the traffic that the neighboring road has to the properties and how close a property will be to it. In general, the value of real estate increases -and therefore they will pay more- if they are near roads that are built at the entrance or exit of the cities because it is where the greatest congestion occurs. While in the middle of the roads it is not easy to take this benefit.

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