The Ohio Turnpike Commission has authorized a series of
public hearings on proposed increases in toll rates for trucks and passenger
The commission rolled back truck fares in 2004 by 25
percent. Truck tolls would stay below the pre-reduction rate, according to the
Adopting the resolution on Monday, July 31, the commission
authorized its executive director, Gary Suhadolnik, to schedule three public
hearings and begin a 90-day comment period. Meetings and the comment period
have not yet been scheduled.
The commission also moved to retain an independent
consultant to make future recommendations on toll schedules based on finances.
In addition to increases, the proposed toll structure rounds
off fares to the nearest quarter.
The entire 241-mile length of the Ohio Turnpike could soon
cost a Class 8 trucker $33.50 instead of $31.00.
Tolls for passenger vehicles are proposed to increase from
$8.95 to $10.25.
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft is opposed to toll increases.
A spokesman for the governor told an online news source, the Toledo Blade, that Taft, a Republican, will ask the Ohio General
Assembly to roll back tolls if the commission tries to implement an increase.
The matter of tolling and privatization has become a
campaign issue in Ohio, as Taft reaches his term limit in 2007.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell favors leasing
the Ohio Turnpike to private investors, while U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland,
D-Lisbon, is opposed to such a lease, the Blade reported.