OOIDA: U.S. lawmakers should heed lesson learned in Ohio
hopes of luring large trucks, the Ohio Turnpike Commission has taken steps to
encourage truckers to drive on the toll way.
leaders in Washington, DC, could learn a lot from the events in Ohio, says the
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
recent decision by the Ohio Turnpike Commission increased the speed limit for
large trucks to 65 mph, the same speed as all other vehicles, and cut the
turnpike’s share of diesel sales revenue to enable fuel stops along the route
to offer diesel up to 11 cents a gallon cheaper than nearby stations, Lauren
Dehrmann, turnpike spokeswoman, said.
The new speed rule took effect Sept. 8. Cheaper diesel is expected to be
available to truckers Oct. 1.
“Additional incentives for truckers are being discussed between the Ohio
Turnpike Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation,” said
Dehrmann. “They plan to have some type of proposal drafted by the end of
September that might include a reduction in tolls or a fuel rebate.”
Bob Taft, who endorsed the commission’s actions, is hopeful the changes for
truckers will steer them off overloaded two-lane roads and back onto the toll
traffic began spilling over to smaller roads after an 82 percent toll increase
took effect in 1999.
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 written statement.
the recent developments in Ohio appear to be nothing but good news for truck
drivers, Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, warned about what the
association cautions could be a trend toward the tolling of interstates
glad Gov. Taft and the Turnpike Commission have 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.
what is happening in Ohio should not be lost on lawmakers in Washington, DC. If
the U.S. Senate goes forward with its plan to toll interstate highways, the
problems that Ohio is trying to correct will multiply across the nation.”
Senate version of the transportation reauthorization bill includes a provision
in Section 1609 allowing states to begin collecting tolls on existing
toll option is also contained in the U.S. House’s version, within Section 1603.
This section allows new tolls only on newly built highway lanes. Use of those
lanes would be optional to drivers, and the toll would be imposed only as long
as necessary to pay for the new lanes’ construction.
group of select lawmakers from the House and Senate are scheduled to meet this
fall to iron out their differences for a final version of the six-year highway
Keith Goble, state legislative editor