Ohio Turnpike wants you to keep on truckin’ – on their toll road

| Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Ever since Ohio raised tolls for trucks on the state’s turnpike, truck traffic has sunk on the turnpike and skyrocketed on smaller roads as truckers find ways to avoid the fees.

Now, because of complaints from towns near the toll road and falling revenues, state officials want to find a way to bring the truckers back to the turnpike, according to local media reports.

The state is seeking federal money to pay for most of a study on how to lure the trucks back, The Toledo Blade reported recently. The total cost is estimated at a quarter million dollars.

Among the options being considered – lowering tolls.

But while the Turnpike Authority seeks money for its study and looks at options, it’s also taking action. The authority’s Web site has a “Trucker’s Page,” which touts the benefits of turnpike travel to over-the-road drivers.

“The trucking industry is a vital part of our nation's economy and a crucial customer for the Ohio Turnpike,” the authority writes on the Trucker’s Page. “We realize even more so in these tough economic times that trucking companies are looking closely at expenses and trying to cut costs whenever and wherever possible, but we believe that using the Ohio Turnpike is advantageous for a number of reasons.”

The page lists such advantages as safer roadways, frequent service plazas with trucker-only facilities and discounts for frequent turnpike users – although those are available only to those who spend at least $1,000 a month in tolls.

According to The Associated Press, the tolls were increased 82 percent in 1995 to help pay for work on toll plazas.

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