Bob Taft on Wednesday called for raising the speed limit and lowering tolls for
large trucks on the Ohio Turnpike in an attempt to steer more truckers back
onto the roadway.
traffic began spilling over to smaller roads after an 82 percent toll increase
took effect in 1999.
wants the turnpike speed limit for tractor-trailers to increase from 55 mph to
65 mph – the limit for all other vehicles. The state’s freeways would continue
to have split speeds.
governor also wants stricter enforcement of truck weights on routes paralleling
the turnpike. In addition, he is calling for reduced tolls for trucks on a
trial basis. Currently, tolls on the turnpike for large trucks to cross the
state are $42.45.
moving trucks to the turnpike, we will reduce the truck traffic on these
smaller routes, improve safety and shrink congestion levels that often gridlock
many of our northern Ohio communities,” Taft said in a released statement.
called on the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike
Commission to study his proposals and determine by the end of September what
should be done and how to pull it off.
Suhadolnik, the turnpike’s executive director, told The Associated Press the commission is likely to approve the speed increases at its next meeting on
will happen in pretty short order,” he said.
out how to cut the costs for trucks on the toll road will take more time,
would prefer a fuel tax rebate for truck drivers as opposed to a toll
reduction, which would eat into the turnpike’s budget. He said it’s unfair to
require a trucker to pay both the fuel tax and the toll while on the turnpike.
fuel tax rebate, though, would likely come out of the highway department’s
budget, which receives the state’s fuel tax income.
efforts now before the Ohio Legislature would eliminate provisions in state law
that set up a slower speed for vehicles with a gross weight of more than 8,000
pounds. The proposals, however, have remained in committee since their
introduction in 2003.
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has been outspoken on
tolling issues and lobbied state lawmakers to approve uniform speed limits, is
encouraged by the governor’s effort, said Todd Spencer, association executive vice
“I’m glad Gov. Taft has seen the wisdom of recognizing
a lose-lose situation for everyone with what’s going on with the speed limits
and the Ohio Turnpike,” Spencer said. “Getting drivers off the less safe
parallel routes is an appropriate and responsible initiative.”