Despite opposition from the
governor, the Ohio Turnpike Commission is going ahead with the first of three
public hearings in the process to increase tolls.
commission has proposed an 8 percent increase for heavy trucks to take effect
on Jan. 1, 2007. For Class 8 trucks, the toll to travel the length of the
241-mile route would increase from $31 to $33.50. Car drivers would face about
a 13.5 percent rate boost.
Commissioners said a toll increase
is needed to gain back some of the revenue from a 25 percent rollback
implemented several years ago when the commission received a state subsidy.
That subsidy has since expired.
By law, the commission must hold
three public hearings on proposed changes to toll rates. The commission voted
July 31 to authorize the hearings.
The first hearing is scheduled for
7 p.m., Aug. 29 at the Government Center, 1 Government Center, Jackson Blvd., Toledo, OH, 43604.
Aug. 29 also marks the start of a
90-day public comment period.
Public comments can be directed to
Executive Director Gary Suhadolnik of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, 682 Prospect St., Berea, OH, 44017. The commission’s phone number is (440) 234-2081. A link
on the commission Web site, ohioturnpike.org,
provides the visitor with a form to comment online.
Gov. Bob Taft is on record
opposing the proposed toll increase. A Taft spokesman has said the governor
will seek an intervention by the Ohio General Assembly if the turnpike
commission authorizes a toll increase.
On Wednesday, the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association sent a “Call to Action” to approximately 6,200
members in Ohio to inform them of the comment period and the hearings.
OOIDA has a current membership of
more than 143,000 in the U.S. and Canada.
– By David Tanner, staff writer