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Ohio nixes a new toll road, saying it would cost more than tolls could cover
Hopes for Route 30 extension now rest with unspecified local and private options

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

The state will not be creating a new toll road heading east nearly to West Virginia, saying the math just doesn’t add up. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the latest snag in the attempt to get the Route 30 extension moving again.

Schultze: State dashes Route 30 toll hopes

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The Ohio Department of Transportation says it would cost nearly $900 million to extend the four-lane divided highway east of Canton through Columbiana County. Plans to do that have been on the books for more than three decades, though never near the top of the priority list for state transportation dollars.

 So local supporters suggested the new 35-mile section become a toll road, one justified by the anticipated increase in truck traffic related to the booming oil and gas industry in eastern Ohio.

But the Ohio Department of Transportation has now released a study that says even if tolls were four times what they are on the Ohio Turnpike, they’d generate only half of the estimated construction costs.

The study does project an increase in traffic on the road of 18 percent in 2020 and 42 percent in 2030 – tied to the oil and gas industry. It also assumes population in the region will grow by 6 percent and employment by nearly a third.

But even with tolls at 20 cents a mile, the study says that would bring in less than $500 million over 20 years.

The state says it is “open to considering local and private funding” to generate the $900 million needed, but doesn’t specify what that might be.


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