December 21, 2010 2:00 PM, EST

Ohio Turnpike Raises Speed Limit

Ohio Trucking Association Says It Objects

The speed limit for cars and trucks on the Ohio Turnpike will go from 65 to 70 miles an hour starting April 1, a change that the state’s trucking industry opposes.

A letter objecting to the higher speeds was filed by the Ohio Trucking Association at the meeting Monday where turnpike commissioners voted 4-1 for the change.

The letter cited safety concerns presented by the higher speed, as well as environmental concerns because of increased fuel consumption at 70 mph and higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

“And the biggest thing was they’re doing this to get trucks back on the turnpike,” said Larry Davis, president of the association. For decades, towns along the turnpike have complained that trucks run along their local roads in order to avoid the tolls.

“Well, if they would lower the tolls, they would get the trucks back on the turnpike ... they have just run them off the pike with the increases in the tolls over the last two years,” Davis said.

Under a weight-based tolling system abandoned in 2008, trucks running empty paid much lower tolls than when they were loaded. But the new toll rates are based on the number of axles a truck has, meaning trucks pay the same rate to run the turnpike whether they are loaded or empty.