Senate amends transportation bill from Ohio House - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Senate amends transportation bill from Ohio House

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(Toledo News Now) -

The Ohio Senate Transportation Committee made several changes Monday to a bill which was approved recently by the Ohio House.

Changes include adding a provision to raise the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on interstate highways outside of urban areas, and deleting a provision to increase weight and size limits for commercial vehicles traveling on state highways.

State Rep. Mike Ashford opposed allowing heavier and longer trucks onto state routes.

"This was a small amendment that had a lot of people concerned about public safety and about the infrastructure, the damage on infrastructure the roads," he said.

The Senate version - to be voted on later this week - also puts into writing a promise made by Governor Kasich regarding his turnpike bonding plan. The measure includes language to spend 90 percent of money raised by the turnpike bonding for road and bridge improvement projects located within 75 miles of the Ohio Turnpike.

That's something Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken and others have been calling for.

"This is a Northern Ohio asset," Gerken said. "That money needs to stay 90 percent in Northern Ohio. I can live with the 75 miles as being the point where the 90 percent gets spent."

Gerken is also pleased the Senate version spells out the governor's pledge to freeze turnpike tolls for 10 years for drivers making trips of 30 miles or less.

"That protects people that go back and forth from Fremont to Toledo and to the West, that's important."

Any changes approved by the Ohio Senate must also be approved by the Ohio House before legislation heads to the governor's office.

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