House Approves Plan to Lower Turnpike Tolls

Sat January 15, 2005 - Midwest Edition

COLUMBUS, OH (AP) The Ohio Turnpike would lower tolls for tractor-trailers under a plan approved by lawmakers in December.

A bill passed by the House would take $23.4 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s construction fund, consisting of the receipts from the state gasoline tax, and turn it over to the Turnpike Commission.

The commission would kick in an additional $8 million for an 18-month period to begin in January or February.

In August, the commission approved an increase in the speed limit for trucks on the turnpike from 55 to 65 mph. Gov. Taft, a Republican, proposed the higher limit and lower tolls to move the big rigs off overloaded two-lane roads. Approximately two-thirds of the Ohio Turnpike now has three lanes in each direction.

The tolls will drop an average of 27 percent for trucks, with heavier trucks getting higher discounts.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Wagner, a Republican from Sycamore in northwest Ohio, would also ban the use or possession by the general public of devices used to change traffic signals.

The portable signal pre-emption devices are meant for fire and emergency crews responding to calls.