Ohio's turnpike director agrees with OOIDA's charges that fuel tax and tolls are double hits on the trucking industry. OOIDA has filed a class-action lawsuit in Ohio's Franklin County Common Pleas court arguing that fuel taxes and tolls are double taxation. Similar lawsuits were also filed against taxing authorities in Indiana, Illinois and New York, seeking injunctions against those four states from collecting fuel taxes based on toll-road mileage. The lawsuits are also asking for refunds of four years' worth of such collections.
According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, G. Alan Plain, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike, said he has made similar arguments to state lawmakers and the turnpike's legislative oversight commission for the three years he has managed the toll road.
Under interstate agreements enforced with mileage logs, trucks pay each state the equivalent of tax that would be paid for fuel used on that state's highways regardless of where the fuel is purchased. Plain reportedly told the Dispatch that, "It's a matter of equity and we should be fair in what we do. They (truckers) shouldn't have to pay the additional cost since we pay for the road's maintenance."
A number of trucking industry leaders have commented favorably on the lawsuits, including Lana Batts, president of the Truckload Carriers Association. "The provision in the latest highway bill to allow states to toll existing ‘freeways' is troubling," said Batts. "OOIDA's suit raises the right issues at the right time."
Paul D. Cullen, the association's attorney, said Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and New York were chosen as representative examples. Other states with toll roads may be considered for similar lawsuits in the future, he said.
Along with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, truck owners Ray Kasicki of Cleveland, Doug Bailey of Ravenna, OH, and Marino Motor Services Inc. of Palatine, IL, are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.