BEREA, OHIO: Ohio Turnpike commissioners voted Monday to raise tolls 2.7 percent annually for the next 10 years to pay for highway projects across the northern part of the state.
For motorists using E-ZPass payment devices, cross-state tolls approved by the newly renamed Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission would rise 25 cents to $11.50. After 10 years, it would be $14.75.
The 241-mile cross-state toll for truckers using E-ZPass would rise $1 to $36 next year. After a decade, the toll would be $45.75.
According to Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer newspaper, motorists and truckers using cash or credit cards would pay more. Cross-state tolls for cars would increase 50 cents to $17 on Jan. 1, and after 10 years, it would be $21.50.
For truckers not using E-ZPass, tolls would rise $1.25 to $45.25 next year. A decade later, truckers would pay $57.50.
The commission also authorized $1 billion in bonds that the higher tolls will help finance. The new debt would be issued by the end of July.
Republican Gov. John Kasich pushed for the toll-hike plan to move along big projects that have been delayed for years. The investment in infrastructure is expected to generate tens of thousands of jobs.
About $70 million of the money will jump-start a plan to replace the original base of the toll road that cuts across northern Ohio and is a key Midwest interstate highway. The rest will go to road and bridge projects.
The turnpike commission will decide which projects to fund after getting recommendations from the state Department of Transportation.
The turnpike has about $560 million in debt, held in bonds that are among the highest rated for tolling agencies in the country.