Keep tolls down, Ohio governor urges commission

| Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Ohio Turnpike Commission has opposition from the governor’s office on a proposal to raise tolls.

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, in a letter sent Monday, urged the commission to find ways to keep tolls down while maintaining the turnpike. He had met Aug. 8 with turnpike officials to urge alternative funding options.

“As I indicated on Aug. 8, I oppose a toll increase and believe that the OTC should determine an alternative plan in order to maintain the current lower tolls,” Taft stated in the letter obtained by Land Line.

In 2005, the commission rolled back truck tolls from $42 to $31.

The proposed increase, which could take effect Jan. 1, would bump truck tolls up to $33.50.

The turnpike commission had its first public hearing Monday in a series of three meetings required for a rate adjustment to occur. The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 in Boardman, OH.

Executive Director Gary Suhadolnik told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the goal at that time was to get trucks using the turnpike and off of secondary roads.

Costs have gone up since then, he said.

Taft urged the commission to provide a full report on operating costs, capital expenditure and debt service.

“We need to again employ the proper analysis and devise an alternative plan that will not require a permanent toll increase,” Taft stated in the letter.

Taft’s term will end at the end of the year because of term limits.

For more information on the public meetings, visit http://ohioturnpike.org.

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