5537.26 Change in toll rate structure requires notice and hearing.

(A) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, no increase by the Ohio turnpike and infrastructure commission in the toll rate structure that is applicable to vehicles operating on a turnpike project shall become effective unless the commission complies with the notice and hearing requirements prescribed in division (B) of this section, and the commission shall not take any action that expands, has the effect of expanding, or will to any degree at any time in the future have the effect of expanding the sphere of responsibility of the commission beyond the Ohio turnpike, unless the commission complies with the notice and hearing requirements prescribed in division (B) of this section.

(B) Not less than ninety days prior to the date on which the commission votes to increase any part of the toll rate structure that is applicable to vehicles operating on a turnpike project, and not less than ninety days prior to the date on which the commission votes to take an action that expands, has the effect of expanding, or will to any degree at any time in the future have the effect of expanding the sphere of responsibility of the commission beyond the Ohio turnpike, the commission shall do both of the following:

(1) Send notice to the governor and the presiding officers and minority leaders of the senate and house of representatives that details the proposed increase to the toll rate structure or the expansion of the sphere of responsibility of the commission beyond the Ohio turnpike, including a description of and a justification for the increase or expansion;

(2) Commence holding public hearings on the proposed increase in the toll rate structure or the proposed action. If the commission is proposing an increase in the toll rate structure that is applicable to vehicles operating on a turnpike project, it shall hold not less than three public hearings in three geographically diverse locations in this state that are in the immediate vicinity of the affected project. If the commission is proposing to take an action that expands, has the effect of expanding, or will to any degree at any time in the future have the effect of expanding the sphere of responsibility of the commission beyond the Ohio turnpike, it shall hold not less than three public hearings in three locations in the immediate vicinity where the expanded responsibilities would arise.

The commission shall hold the third or, if it holds more than three hearings, the last hearing of any set of hearings required to be held under this section not less than thirty days prior to the date on which it votes to increase part of the toll rate structure that is applicable to vehicles operating on a turnpike project or to take an action that expands, has the effect of expanding, or will to any degree at any time in the future have the effect of expanding the sphere of responsibility of the commission beyond the Ohio turnpike.

The commission shall inform the public of all the hearings required to be held under this section by causing a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which each hearing is to be held, not less than once per week for two weeks prior to the date of the hearing.

(C) If the commission does not comply with the notice and hearing requirements contained in division (B) of this section and votes for an increase in the toll rate structure that is applicable to vehicles operating on a turnpike project, the increase in the toll rate structure shall not take effect, any attempt by the commission to implement the increase in the toll rate structure is void, and, if necessary, the attorney general shall file an action in the court of common pleas of the county in which the principal office of the commission is located to enjoin the commission from implementing the increase. The commission shall not implement any increase until it complies with division (B) of this section.

If the commission does not comply with the notice and hearing requirements contained in division (B) of this section and votes to take an action that expands, has the effect of expanding, or will to any degree at any time in the future have the effect of expanding the sphere of responsibility of the commission beyond the Ohio turnpike, the commission shall not take the proposed action and, if necessary, the attorney general shall file an action in the court of common pleas of the county in which the principal office of the commission is located to enjoin the commission from taking the proposed action. The commission shall not take the proposed action until it complies with the notice and hearing requirements prescribed in division (B) of this section.

(D) Divisions (A) to (C) of this section do not apply to any decrease made to the toll rate structure by the commission. The commission may implement a temporary decrease in the toll rate structure only if it does not exceed eighteen months in duration. Prior to instituting any decrease to the toll rate structure, the commission shall do both of the following:

(1) Not less than five days prior to any public meeting under division (D)(2) of this section, send notice to the governor and the presiding officers and minority leaders of the senate and house of representatives that details the proposed decrease to the toll rate structure;

(2) Hold a public meeting to explain to members of the traveling public the reasons for the upcoming decrease, to inform them of any benefits and any negative consequences, and to give them the opportunity to express their opinions as to the relative merits or drawbacks of each toll decrease. The commission shall inform the public of the meeting by causing a notice to be published in newspapers of general circulation in Cuyahoga, Lucas, Mahoning, Trumbull, Williams, and Summit counties not less than five days prior to the meeting. The commission shall not be required to hold any public hearing or meeting upon the expiration of any temporary decrease in the toll rate structure, so long as it implements the same toll rate structure that was in effect immediately prior to the temporary decrease.

(E) As used in this section, "Ohio turnpike" means the toll freeway that is under the jurisdiction of the commission and runs in an easterly and westerly direction across the entire northern portion of this state between its borders with the state of Pennsylvania in the east and the state of Indiana in the west, and carries the interstate highway designations of interstate seventy-six, interstate eighty, and interstate eighty-ninety.

Cite as R.C. § 5537.26

History. Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 7, HB 51, §101.01, eff. 7/1/2013.

Effective Date: 10-17-1996; 12-21-2004; 2006 HB699 03-29-2007