9/20: Are HOT lanes a good idea for Georgia?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Tolls are coming to I-85 on Oct. 1. They’re also planned for I-75. But these will be different from Ga. 400’s one fee for every vehicle. These are the so-called HOT lanes — high-occupancy toll lanes.

The cost will vary according to demand for any car or truck carrying fewer than three people. The more congestion, the more you pay. And solo riders can participate, for a price.

Benita M. Dodd, vice president at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, writes that moving toward tolling more roads in state is inevitable and logical.

Brian Gist, an attorney in the Atlanta office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, does not think they are a good idea and writes that the goal should be better transportation for all, not just for select few.

Read what they have to say and give us your take on the HOT lanes.

162 comments Add your comment

Innocent Bystander

September 23rd, 2011
11:25 am

I’ve been on I285 twice this year for a total of about 20 minutes. I haven’t been on I85 at all this year and haven’t been on I75 in a decade. I live and play in Alpharetta and commute to Doraville on surface streets (I can see spaghetti junction from my office). My view? Sucks to be you guys.


September 23rd, 2011
11:21 am

Toll lanes on interstates are a BAD idea, and a primary reason I will be voting AGAINST the transportation tax bill (there are other reasons, too). A highway is public infrastructure financed by the public for the benefit of the public. Ideologically, I’m steadfastly opposed to public money being spent for the convenience and benefit of those willing to pay for the privilege at the detriment of the public in general. If you want to build a toll road (a) do it privately, or (b) toll everyone on an equitable basis (flat fee, by weight of vehicle, etc.).

What’s next? Are they going to start pumping us unfiltered lake water and charge those willing to pay more for clean water? Same concept. Taxpayers are taxed equitably for highway infrastructure, at least in theory, and the benefit of use of the highway should be equitably available to all. If you don’t buy into this, do it privately.


September 23rd, 2011
11:20 am

A pay for HOV lane that discourages car pooling? Good idea GA DOT.

Martin Brittain

September 23rd, 2011
11:19 am

The HOT lanes are another way the Republicans have allowed elitism into every day life. Those with money get relief, others don’t.

R U Kidding Me?

September 23rd, 2011
11:18 am

Let’s be perfectly clear on who is to get the credit (or blame) for the HOT lanes on I-85. It’s none other than the infamous GENA EVANS. During her short, disasterous stint as GDOT Commissioner, she made a HUGE production about getting a $100 million grant from Federal Highway to do this “pilot project” on I-85. Her and Sonny the Crook held a big press conference to take full ownership of this project.

After the GDOT board fired her, Sonny let her stay at the State Road and Tollway Authority, and she has been the one in charge of implementing her pet project. The first thing she did was to invest millions of tax dollars in a electronic tolling system that is: a) 20 year old technology, b) not used by any other tolling system in America and thus is not compatable; c) it was not compatable with the tolling technology used on GA 400. That means the public was going to have to get 2 different transponders to use I-85 and GA 400. Brilliant!

The continued delays are because of the technology problems. Just ask the original provider who was jsut paid $1.5 million to go away and keep quiet. Now another company is trying to create software that will read both GA 400 cards and the I-85 cards, but there is no asurance this will work. Galloway, do an open records request for the test data on I-85 and you will see a huge per centage of cars and trucks are not being captured by this patchwork system and so many drivers are getting through for FREE. It’s nothing short of a total disaster. But you see, Gena was proud of her $100M grant, regardless of the fact that whole project is full of flaws.

The reason Georgia got the money in the first place was because New York returned it and said “No Thank You” to the Federal Highway Administration. Unfortunately, Gena and Sonny weren’t that smart.

Terrible Idea

September 23rd, 2011
11:13 am

Anyone know if they’ve figured out how to kick the single drivers out of the HOV lanes south of 285? It will be illegal for them to be in the lanes at that point. It’s one big money-making scheme, no doubt.


September 23rd, 2011
11:10 am

Folks, there were at least 5 advertised public information open houses on these lanes in Gwinnet and DeKalb county. Who came? Only a handful of people! This project has been in the local media since it started in 2008. No one cared then, so what is all the squawking about now? Turn off your TV, get off your FaceBook page and pay attention to reality for a change. What’s your brilliant solution to the congestion problem besides complaining about it?

jo jo

September 23rd, 2011
11:08 am

look at our fd up economy and now we are going to make people sit in worse traffic than we have now and charge outrageous prices to drive on roads that we all ready pay for and then have to listen to that dumb-ass redneck captain herb about how great it will be the kool aid drinking mo fo.


September 23rd, 2011
11:07 am

Thats why Dems are out. They just don’t get it. Another case of their war on the rich.

We need incentive in our society. If you are lazy and don’t make enough money sit in traffic. If you are a producer your time is worth more.

In fact the lanes should be like luxury suites that now dominate are stadiums. Corporations could pay hundreds of thousands a year giving their executives exclusive access to the toll lane. This system should be geared towards moving our executives in a fashion they have earned. They are the job creators, without them there is no need for transportation.

Lets have lots more of these “luxury lanes.” If we do this it will be a sign to the executives that we are with them and they can start to hire again.

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

By the way, anyone with a name like “Benita” should be reading news from a teleprompter at WSB Channel 2, taking your order at McDonald’s or scrubbing a kitchen floor rather than trying to dictate a State’s Public Policy (rather poorly).