WE BELIEVE the Ohio Turnpike Commission didn’t race into a hasty decision to raise the speed limit on the state’s toll road. In fact we are in full agreement with the commission’s 4-1 vote to hike legal limits from the current 65 miles per hour to 70.
The Turnpike Commission made the move in the realm of safety. Panel members believe secondary roads will become much more safe to navigate once the new speed limits take effect on April 1.
The higher turnpike speeds will attract more heavy trucks and commercial vehicles to use the toll road, bypassing the now frequently traveled two-lane roads, often times navigating through populated communities.
Commission members, however, need to take one more step to make the turnpike totally attractive to big rigs. Lowering the toll rates would be an obvious enticement for truckers to leave back roads and enter the fast lane.
The turnpike is an expansive transportation artery, stretching 241 miles. Should a heavy truck travel that entire stretch, a $75 toll is possible. That is a steep price to pay. Factor in the price of diesel gas these days and truckers face a costly trip across the Buckeye State.
Getting heavy commercial vehicles off secondary roads is a necessary move to make for safer travel.
But to make that become reality, the higher speed limits need to be coupled with lower trucker tolls to accelerate the heavy rig exodus from two-lane roads.