After two years of declines, Ohio Turnpike traffic reached a record high last year despite a continuing series of toll increases — but use by Class 8 trucks rose only 1.6% over last year, compared to a 6.2% increase for all vehicles.

The Toledo Blade reports that while the 43.6 million vehicles that used the tollroad last year eclipsed the record of 42.3 million set in 1995, commercial traffic still lagged behind the 1995 numbers. In 1997, trucks and other commercial vehicles paid 58.7% of the tolls while accounting for 30.1% of the traffic. The turnpike paid $395,000 in rebates to 587 trucking companies that paid $1,000 or more in tolls during the year.
In July 1995, the Ohio Turnpike Commission instituted the first of a series of toll hikes that has raised fares a total of 82%. The final increase took effect Jan. 1.
Truckers opposed the increases, saying that higher tolls would force trucks onto local roads. Local leaders, experiencing increased numbers of trucks on State Route 2, U.S. 6, U.S. 20 and other highways, have asked the commission to repeal the toll increases. But turnpike officials say that tolls aren’t the only reason; construction-related congestion, strict weight enforcement and other factors are also to blame.
To hear what the Ohio Turnpike had to say about this story, listen to RoadStar Radio News for Feb. 9 (