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


September 23rd, 2011
3:20 pm

RUKidding… You are forgetting about Gena’s disastrous reign of terror at GSFIC/GBA and SPO.

In any event, let’s not forget that the first technology vendor was a buddy of Gena’s. Coincidence? Hardly. She has single handedly screwed up everywhere she’s been. We’ll all be paying for this screw up for some time, while she cashes in.


September 23rd, 2011
1:41 pm

Epic fail. This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. Too much room for error.


September 23rd, 2011
1:11 pm

SPEND SOME FREEEKIN MONEY ON MASS TRANSIT – YOU TIGHT WAD, NECON, REACTIONARY TOWN!! If only this backward, anti-mass transit city would realize that having the option of actually using MARTA from outside the perimeter would alleviate gridlock and time/money spent in traffic!!!!!! But no… the redneckers will scream ; why that thar is kommunizm peeyour and simple! DUMB A*SES!!


September 23rd, 2011
1:02 pm

If only people would learn from mistakes made elsewhere… Tolls will cause more problems/traffic than the extra revenue is worth… MISTAKE – BIG TIME!


September 23rd, 2011
1:02 pm

Traffic in Gwinnett County has been horrible for years and the one thing that has helped, the HOV lane, is now being taken away. People who carpooled before won’t carpool anymore because they can’t use the lane for free with just two occupants. With possibly more congestion in the toll lane, the bus system won’t work as well either.

I don’t trust using the lane with three people, because I don’t believe I won’t be charged for using it, particularly when I have a child in the back seat of the vehicle. I’ve seen nothing to explain how the system will detect how many occupants there are. I’ve been pulled over numerous times in the HOV lane because police officers didn’t know that I had a child in the back seat. I also do not like the fact that the cost fluctuates even after I am in the lane. Once I make the decision based on the price-per-mile to use the toll lane, the charge per mile should remain consistent, particularly when I can’t exit the lane legally for miles.

I fully expect traffic to worsen when the new lane opens. I see the toll lane as nothing but a money-making scheme and Gwinnett County residents will be main ones to suffer. Not only will many current HOV users stop using it, but there is no way to ensure that one lane will always move at a steady pace. The HOV lane comes to a complete stop from time to time now. Accidents and congestion cannot be controlled and drivers will continue to wait until the last minute to exit the toll lane and then cross six lanes of traffic to exit the interstate. I anticipate that the toll lane will be a failure, but Gwinnett County will never see an end to it. First Georgians will have to pay off the enormous up-front expense installing this system has cost, and then government will continue to see the tolls and tickets as a means of revenue. In all probability the toll lane will remain in place in spite of it’s failure.

The Exile

September 23rd, 2011
12:28 pm

This has nothing to do with reducing congestion, everything to do with raising revenue. Also, if there had been any semblance of a regional transportation plan implemented, say 15 years ago, then this would not look so ridiculous. Too late now, enjoy your metro traffic!

JR Hartley

September 23rd, 2011
12:26 pm

From my taboo-elephants.com blog on 9/7/2011.


Historically, infrastructure improvements are obsolete by the time they are complete. Projections usually greatly underestimate the demand; probably to keep cost estimates low enough to snooker taxpayers. Specifically, lanes seem to be added to highways just in time to need even more by the time they are completed.

Encouraging mass transit as a way to reduce traffic and pollution always seems to fail. People need more of an incentive to give up their cars.

Highways in, around, and through Atlanta can be used to resolve both issues.

Instead of spending millions to add additional lanes to I-75, I-20, I-85, and I-285, just increase the number of HOV lanes by designating one or more existing single passenger lanes as HOV lanes. Strict enforcement with large fines would result in increased traffic in fewer lanes. The resulting inconvenience and aggravation would send commuters and shoppers to carpools and MARTA. The resulting reduction in traffic would extend the useful life of the highway system as well as improve air quality.

Now, what else can I fix?


September 23rd, 2011
12:10 pm

Herb Emory and Mark Arum did a special a few weeks ago on WSB Radio about this project with a spokesperson from the DOT. One of the biggest things I got from it was they mentioned that they were doing this because from Chamblee Tucker to Suwannee, the HOV lane was not being used as much as originally projected. So their bright idea was this to…in their opinions….allow more cars to use it.

They argued that “we have a lane thats not being used so we have to do something” I HAVE A GREAT IDEA……OPEN THE DAMN LANE UP FOR EVERYONE TO USE WITHOUT A TOLL OR CARPOOL AND IT WILL BE USED AND RELIEVE CONGESTION. We have already paid for it so the fact that you will not do this means that it is completely about generating revenue.

IT WILL FAIL!!!! They will be back spending hundreds of more millions in five years to come up with some other plan.

Not to mention the fact they put these high cost cameras at about 8 ft above the wall…Think about how expensive it will be to replace these periodically when there is a crash up against the wall that damages these cameras.


September 23rd, 2011
12:07 pm

Almost as stupid as GA 400.
Run a controlled access highway moving at 70MPH into a traffic light at GA 369. Only a GT graduate could think that one up!

Doc M says...

September 23rd, 2011
12:05 pm

I think all lanes should just be opened to ALL drivers. These designated HOV and new HOT lanes are a waste, given the number of people who use them.

IF it were mandatory that all cars with two+ people had to be in the HOV lanes, maybe that would’ve helped traffic flow and congestion, but people don’t use them that much; and no matter what the DOT (and environmentalists) wants, people are not going to give up their cars! People will continue to be solo drivers, so the total effort is futile.

How much money, time, signage, road painting and planning has been wasted on these special lanes? And for what? They are a failed venture.

Stop the foolishness. Admit it’s not going to work to reduce traffic and just open all lanes to everyone. Period.