Truck drivers might want to prepare for increasing toll costs on the Ohio Turnpike. They’ll also have local residents and business owners as allies in the opposition to increased fees. This month, turnpike users, local residents and business owners in Ohio are gathering to voice opposition to a plan that could see the Ohio Turnpike leased to private investors. A spokesman for the state transportation department says the proposal is not a done deal, but that hasn’t stopped the grassroots effort from mobilizing.
At the first such gathering on Tuesday, July 17, in Elyria, 75 people out of the 77 in attendance raised their hands when asked if they were against the privatization of the turnpike, according to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation told Land Line that the reports about the meeting being a public hearing were overstated. Spokesman Steve Faulkner says the meetings are being organized by county and local officials and not by ODOT or the Ohio Turnpike Commission, although people from both agencies attended.
Residents and roadway users haven’t seemed to care whether the meetings are official or not. What’s important is the message.
It would be a crime to lease that turnpike for $3-$4 billion, turnpike user Ernie Peto of Olmstead Falls told Land Line Now. Peto is not a truck driver.