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Ohio Turnpike panel expected to raise tolls

The Associated Press

7/15/2013

BEREA, Ohio — Ohio Turnpike tolls are expected to rise 2.7 percent next year, or a minimum of 25 cents for drivers.

If the commission overseeing the turnpike approves it Monday, the hike starting Jan. 1 would be the first of 10 annual increases to pay for big-ticket road and bridge projects in northern Ohio, according to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

For motorists driving across the turnpike with E-ZPass, tolls would rise 25 cents to $11.50. After 10 years, it would be $14.75. The cross-state toll for truckers using E-ZPass would rise by $1 to $36 next year. After a decade, the toll would be $45.75.

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. After 10 years, it would be $21.50.

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission was also expected Monday to authorize $1 billion in bonds that those higher tolls will help pay for. The new debt would be issued by the end of July.

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 241-mile 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 Ohio Department of Transportation.

The turnpike has about $560 million in debt now, held in bonds that are among the highest rated for tolling agencies in the country.

Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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