Oklahoma lawmaker wants motorcycles to pay lower tolls; no luck for trucks

| 11/3/2006

Truckers who also own motorcycles could recoup a bit of their costs of business during their free time in Oklahoma if proposed legislation is signed into law in the state.

State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, plans to file a bill that would reduce tolls 50 percent for all motorcyclists traveling Oklahoma turnpikes.

Wesselhoft said he doesn't think it's fair that motorcyclists pay the same price as passenger vehicles to use toll roads because they cause less wear and tear on the pavement. Bikes also cause less pollution and are more fuel-efficient, he said.

"We don't make cars pay the same toll as buses or semi-trucks because we know they don't do as much damage - the same savings should be in place for motorcycles in comparison to cars," Wesselhoft said in a written statement.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority determines toll rates based on the number of axles a vehicle has, but it puts motorcycles and four-wheelers in the same category.

Wesselhoft is proposing a motorcycle rate for turnpike tolls that is 50 percent less than the charge for two-axle vehicles. While motorcyclists would get a break, five-axle trucks would continue to pay about four times as much as two-axle vehicles.

Wesselhoft said lower rates for motorcyclists would encourage more bike traffic in the state and offset any loss of revenue resulting from cutting the tolls.