Latino rep. from ohio says turnpike tolls likely to go up
March 1, 2013 · Print This Article
COLUMBUS— State Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) released the following statement upon the passage of House Bill 51. The proposal would create $1.5 billion in new debt against the turnpike.
“The turnpike is a vital component of our state’s infrastructure and a key element in our ability to keep and attract businesses. Under this plan, our tolls are going to be used for debt service instead of maintaining the roadways.
As a result, one of two things will occur: either the tolls will go up in order to pay for the maintenance of the turnpike, like what has happened in Pennsylvania, or the quality of the roads will deteriorate, like what has happened to the turnpike in Indiana. As Ohioans, we should be learning from the mistakes of our neighbors, not repeating them.
Business needs predictability and stability, and this legislation erodes those guarantees. In this time of continued economic recovery, our state and our region cannot afford to gamble on such a risky scheme that jeopardizes the future of the turnpike and jeopardizes the economic competitiveness of Ohio. ”
Democrats offered amendments in Finance Committee and on the floor of the House that would guarantee some of the promises the Governor made when shopping for support of this proposal. These amendments would have guaranteed that 90 percent of turnpike revenue stays in northern Ohio, tolls would be frozen for EZ Pass users, and all other rates would be capped at inflation. These amendments were voted down, despite bipartisan opposition.
Rep. Ramos concluded by saying, “The only thing we can be certain of is that those of us who live along the turnpike will be left holding the bill.”