Lawsuit claims Ohio Turnpike toll increase violates commerce clause

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 5/4/2015

A plaintiff in Ohio claims the state’s turnpike commission has violated the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution by using funds from a 2014 toll increase to pay for projects unrelated to turnpike functions.

Motorist and turnpike user Melissa Ullmo is listed as the plaintiff. She is a Cuyahoga County resident. Ullmo filed a complaint seeking class action status against the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission in the Court of Common Pleas in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on April 27.

According to the lawsuit, Ullmo claims that $930 million in turnpike funds from the Jan. 1, 2014, toll increase are marked for non-turnpike functions.

For example, Ullmo cites $39 million in turnpike funds marked for the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, a landscaped urban boulevard with bike and pedestrian paths.

Using turnpike funds for those purposes amounts to unlawful taxation according to the lawsuit, a copy of which is posted at

Ullmo seeks judgment for herself and other turnpike users in the full amount of the toll increase.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission has not publicly responded to the lawsuit or its claims.

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