Ohio Turnpike Commission votes for higher speed limits for trucks



BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Turnpike Commission approved a resolution Monday increasing the speed limit for commercial vehicles to 65 miles per hour.
The increase from 55 mph takes effect Sept. 8. All five turnpike commissioners voted for the change.
Truckers who otherwise would travel different routes might choose to use the toll road if they can have a competitive advantage by doing so, said Gary Suhadolnik, the Ohio Turnpike's executive director.
Gov. Bob Taft proposed higher speed limits and lower tolls for truckers on the turnpike in an attempt to move the big rigs off overloaded two-lane roads. About two-thirds of the Ohio Turnpike now has three lanes in each direction.
Responding to complaints
The governor announced the proposals Aug. 11 while touring three areas in northern Ohio where complaints about truck traffic have been rising in the past five years.
Truck traffic began spilling over to smaller roads after an 82 percent toll increase took full effect in 1999.
The Ohio Trucking Association has been lobbying the governor and transportation leaders since May to increase the speed on the turnpike, said Larry Davis, the group's president.
It cited studies that showed increasing the speed limit for trucks in other states did not lead to more accidents.
"We've told them that until they lowered the fees and gave us a chance to go a little quicker, they weren't going to get trucks back on the turnpike," Davis said.

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