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

bend over and take it

September 23rd, 2011
12:02 pm

Just another “up yours” from our state DOT and Governor. All about the revenue. If you think it’s not, have your head examined. Ungodly rush hours just got worse. And somehow it’s my fault because my job is downtown and MARTA doesn’t reach it…? And you think this fiasco will make me vote yes on more taxes for transportation, after my tax dollars already paid for the 1st version of the HOV lanes now off limits unless I pay for play???? F- you GDOT!!!!!

New 78 driver

September 23rd, 2011
12:01 pm

This is one of the worst ideas implemented by the Department of Non-Transportation (DO-nonT). I have carpooled for several years in the HOV lanes on 85. Remember, these were established using tax dollars to incent “good driver” behavior with the goal of reducing both emmissions, and the number single occupancy cars from the road. This seems like we are incenting more single driver cars.

If the administrators at the DO-nonT had ever tried to establish a carpool of their own, they would know how difficult that is to get two people to ride together for any extended period of time. I am fortunate, as I happen to have a the best carpooler in the ATL.

However, this new toll road will put an end to our use of I85 as a viable means of transportation, as we both refuse to pay for the same service (or lack thereof) twice. Now, we will be forced to sit on either 78 or I20, (where traffic is equally mis-managed) with no incentive to ride together. The HOV lane, as it currently exists, saves us 30 minutes on our drive to town.

Taking away the HOV lane for the HOT lane, to generate extra cash (not profit – just cash) is typical government.

What I would really like to see the AJC investigate, is who owns (part or in whole) the company that built this out and then who sat on the DO-nT board? Yeah, I put that in print.


September 23rd, 2011
11:50 am

So much for trying to do the right thing by carpooling for the last six years and taking 20,000 tons of emissions out of the air. The Clean Air Campaign should be livid at this point because ALL their two rider carpools are history. I’ll be back in the regular lanes because I REFUSE to pay $500 a month for the “privilege” of using a lane I’ve already paid for. And I refuse to be chained to the bus system. This is going to be an EPIC DISASTER and will do nothing to ease Atlanta’s hopeless traffic. Good job! We should all be so proud of our elected officials. Morons!!


September 23rd, 2011
11:44 am

It is pretty amazing that they expect ordinary people to subsidize the people who can “afford” the expensive lanes. This was done under a republican administration so don’t tell me it’s Obama’s fault.


September 23rd, 2011
11:42 am

It’s hard to imagine that this new system will do anything but make things worse. When they re-painted the double white lines, they made it impossible for me to use the Express lane without wading through 35 minutes of traffic from Old Peachtree to Beaver Ruin. Ridiculous. I’d actually pay if I could even use the service. They’ve taken my commute–which ran about 30 minutes–and easily stretched it to more than one hour. If I even want to think about using the Express Lane, I need to bactrack all the way to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd just to have the luxury of paying to use the Express Lane. Who dreams this stuff up??????

LtCol Razorback

September 23rd, 2011
11:37 am

Lawrence, I wish it wewre true, but mass transit (alone) won’t do the job. What is needed is mass transit, carpools in true high-occupancy lanes (at least 4 people in each car), high cost HOT Lanes, and closing lanes ans/or roads to drive (excuse the term) frustrated drivers out of ther cas and into the other options.


September 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

The lane is designed to tempt drivers to cross the double white line and then send them a steep ticket in the mail. It’s a revenue play. There is NO ENTRANCE to the lane for over five miles from Suwannee to Beaver Ruin heading southbound. The DOT errased the lane entrance at Pleasant Hill. Drivers with PeachPasses sitting in traffic have to go for miles before getting in the lane. They will cheat and cross the white line. That’s how the system is designed to generate revenue. Just as red-light cameras aren’t for safety, they’re to raise revenue. The i-85 express lane is designed to maximize revenue by monetizing the stripes on the highway. It’s not about 50 cent toll – it’s about the thousands and thousands of $70. tickets for crossing the double line. Wake AJC and report what’s going on!!!

LtCol Razorback

September 23rd, 2011
11:31 am

How to reduce traffic congestion?

Close lanes and/or roads. Sounds preposterous, but it works. By reducing the volume of traffica highway or road can accommodate, congestion will increase to the point that car drivers give up and decide on other options, like carpooling, commuter vans, or even public transportation — thus resulting in lest congestion. It was tried in Europe and it worked!! :)

It is time to try it in metro Atlanta.

Rush Cheney

September 23rd, 2011
11:29 am

Funny … This is a STATE, not Federal issue. Republicans control the Governors seat and is the dominant party in Georgia’s legislature. I thought you people were against “big government”. Well if this new government-ran, socialist-driven, egregious new HOT lane crap of an idea is not BIG GOVERNMENT at work, I don’t know what is. Hypocrites.

Furthermore, unemployment in Georgia outpaces the rest of the nation. What are you doing about this Governor Deal? Saxby? Isakson?


September 23rd, 2011
11:26 am

Mass transit is the only solution. Have the State run elevated rail right up the center of I-85 all the way to SC border and south to at least Macon. More lanes and now HOT lanes is not going to fix anything. It will give people who use it a false sense of entitlement/superiority for a while. But it will turn into just another tax in the end. Instead of pissing away our tax dollars on useless pavement projects, they should be focusing on real mass transit solutions. Too bad our DOT board members all own paving companies are never going to come up w/ any ideas other than more roads.