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

george

September 19th, 2011
7:22 pm

HOT lanes are fingers in a leak. They will prove unsuccessful at improving traffic gridlock. The solution to highway gridlock is a comprehensive transportation solution that includes, light rail, commuter rail and ongoing highway upgrades and improvements. The HOT lane idea is another idea among the many forwarded by the right wing to attack the majority of citizens who can least afford it and put the savings in the pockets of millionaires

Mama Says

September 19th, 2011
7:35 pm

let’s see the state is changing HOV lanes into “hot” lanes b/c they wish to help the congestion problem.

In order to do that we need to take a lane that encourages folks to car pool and that is free into one that anyone can drive in and it cost a fee.

humm looks like another tax, oh sorry I mean fee, which is being put into place to raise revenue. In other words an illegal tax for a road we have already been taxed on in order to build.

Mama Says

September 19th, 2011
7:38 pm

Toll roads are another way to raise taxes w/o legislative approval. in other words it’s taxation w/o representation. Who voted to impose the fees ? The legislature or the DOT and who is elected ?

Angus

September 19th, 2011
9:08 pm

$185 million lipstick job on your pig – and now your pig is uglier than before.

I don’t get it.

Ken P

September 19th, 2011
10:09 pm

Are they a good idea? Are you kidding!? This is just another example of governmental taxation of every aspect of life! And, in addition to the charging for the public to use the roads that they have already paid to build with their taxes, and to use with their tag fees, it will certainly be a hoped-for plus to mail out fines for the violations of this abusive scheme!

It’s about as foolish and misguided as the ramp lights that require everyone to stop at the bottom of the ramp, backing up traffic onto crossroads, and requiring rapid acceleration into highway speed traffic; it’s more dangerous in both respects AND uses more fuel besides! But, it’s more about gouging people with fines for ignoring these foolish money traps!

pastordc

September 19th, 2011
11:00 pm

My question is, if this is a Federal Highway, why is it that the people in certain counties have to pay for this? This is not Georgia Hwy 400, or Georgia Hwy 78, this is an Interstate that travels from state to state. Why do people from other states that may not know about this toll, why do they have to be penalized also? Who gets the money from this?

Clay

September 20th, 2011
2:17 am

I don’t expect a whole lot of people to like the new HOT lane conversion, in fact when I first heard about it I was dead set against it. Afterall, it is a hard thing to stomach… adding a tax to an existing lane -and- there is no road widening! However, over time I have done some research on the concept and there is actually some validity to it. Believe it or not there is a reason it actually is designed to increase capacity of the roadway at peak moments of congestion, but it is hard to understand why at first.

Imagine you draw a line across all 6 lanes of traffic. At any given moment the ‘capacity’ of the road is how many cars can drive past that line in a certain period of time. The problem with congestion isn’t just that people can’t move quickly, but the slower traffic goes….the fewer cars can pass that line! Fewer cars will pass that line at 10 mph than they will at 25 mph or 45 mph.

So the trick for engineers is to come up with a way one or more lanes can keep moving at an ideal speed to move as many cars past that line in a given time (45mph). More cars will pass that line in that line if cars can move consistently at 45 mph and not get forced into slowing down.

The problem is there isn’t any good way to limit the number of cars into that lane that it keeps moving at 45 mph, but also allows in as many cars as possible with it moving at 45mph. The main tool they have to work with is variable tolling. Tolls that go up or down to influence more people to get in the lane…. or stay out of the lane.

Admittedly the tolls aren’t popular and it certainly isn’t equitable. Richer people will be able to benefit from them more often, but in the end with variable tolling the computerized system that engineers set up can insure at peak moments of congestion nothing slows down the maximum number of vehicles can -drive pass that imaginary line- in that one lane. Oddly enough… at peak times… the introduction of HOT lanes actually increases capacity, but insuring some cars and keep moving no matter how bad things get.

This lane is just a demonstration/trial, but if it works in the future we might be able to have an extra lane built and better on/off ramps between the regular travel lanes and the HOT lanes.

The extra added benefit is it helps express buses work well. Going into the future more people will want to use them, because they will go faster and make travel times more stable.

Clay

September 20th, 2011
2:23 am

@pastordc… fair question… the toll is only on 1 lane of several. Out of towners aren’t really further penalized more than normal. The other side to this… The grant for this project is from the federal government. It is their idea and it has been done in a few other places. They are trying to show us how this concept can work, so we will expand this system if it does work. The money will be used to operate, manage, maintain, and built the HOT lanes.

[...] 9/20: Are HOT lanes a good idea for Georgia?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Oddly enough… at peak times… the introduction of HOT lanes actually increases capacity, but insuring some cars and keep moving no matter how bad things get. This lane is just a demonstration/trial, but if it works in the future we might be able to …and more » [...]

Road Scholar

September 20th, 2011
6:37 am

Clay: Using your analogy, draw the line across 5 regular and 1 existing HOV2 lanes. Now shove the HOV 2 cars into the other 5 lanes…they will move slower than before…so they lose “capacity” as you defined it. Now let cars willing and able to pay along with HOV 3 cars into the managed lane. Do the 5 regular lanes get a sizable boost? No. What happens when the demand for all lanes go up? It’s called growth.While the managd lane moves at 45 mph, the net affect for the majority of motorists in the regular lanes are in a worse level of service!

pastordc: The motorist from other counties/states can read the signs and/or take the risk of using them. If they are in violation they will get a ticket sent to the home address of the license tag!

For those above who don’t like this user fee, what is your solution…with a financial plan…to solve congestion in Atlanta? Sit in traffic? Never leave your home?

The operator gets the fees. SRTA gets those on I 85 and uses them to first maintain and enforce this system. If anything is left, it goes to other projects. For the I75/575 project, th consortium gets the fees to pay for maintainance and enforcement, then they go to pay back their money spent to implement and then to profits, if enough money is collected.

Dan

September 20th, 2011
6:55 am

It’s obtuse thinking at it’s finest, of course HOV lanes in general are, lets review; as some posters already pointed out it does nothing to ease congestion (and in Atlanta it is caused largely by poor planning of access ramps and intersections) even now at rush hour the hov lane doesn’t move much faster for just that reason. Their are not enough HOv on/off ramps therefore those drivers now have to cross 5/6 lanes of traffic to enter/exit. As far as being fair well that argument is even more obtuse than the original idea, simply whining, but it has an interesting correlation to the wealth evny commonly seen in politics in that while it could be called a higher tax on the wealthy, it in no way will pay for the project which is essentially an exercise in overspending

Clay

September 20th, 2011
7:18 am

“road scholar” the flaw with the point you are getting at … is the same thing Dan ironically pointed out… The HOV2 lanes were already congested and it just so happens they saw the heaviest use in the I-85 north corridor than anywhere else in metro Atlanta. That is partially why the HOT lanes are coming here first. The only way to take away the HOV congestion is to widen the road at an extreme cost or convert to HOV3 lane, but the problem with HOV3 lane is it would operate under capacity, so the HOV3+HOT is what you get… its essentially an HOV3 lane that lets any excess capacity get sold off.

but still that aside… given the fact that previously all 6 lanes were congested…. and not allowing peak traffic flow to cross the line…. making a HOT lane will increase peak traffic flow from before. –For every car that goes from the HOV lane to the general purpose lane… there is more than one car moving into the free flowing HOT lane!–

Rb

September 20th, 2011
7:35 am

This is another tax, plain and simple. The road was already paid for with gas taxes and tag fees. Now, the government wants to increase taxes and the only way they can do that without inciting the citizenry is to come up with these hair-brained ideas that end up costing more than they bring in. Does anyone in government have a base in Reality?

Tracey

September 20th, 2011
8:05 am

My Vanpool has used the HOV lanes for 5 years now. We accessed the HOV lane at a legal entrance right after we got on I-85 at Sugarloaf Parkway. The new HOT lane took away our entrance and now we have to go to 400 and access the beginning of the lane, or sit in the worst part of the traffic backup for 6 miles until Beaver Ruin. Please understand it’s not just my vanpool, it’s 11 others that meet at Discover Mills as well as all the Gwinnett Express Buses that pick up there. There is no entrance to that lane from Suwanee to Beaver Ruin.

This is because federal law mandates specified distances in these types of lanes. Oh well, sucks for all the people who used to easily get in that lane at Old Peachtree and Sugarloaf. They said they did a traffic study! Well they should get their money back because the company who did it didn’t do a good job.

And also, just because you can be in that lane because you have enough people doesn’t mean you should be in that lane if you are driving 50 MPH!

Laurie

September 20th, 2011
8:32 am

If the contract bid/negotiation process was open for public review for the 575/75 project, I might feel better about it. But it is not, so most likely will not be written in a way to protect drivers who live in the area from price gouging and abuse of power in controlling other projects that could be implemented to ease traffic congestion in the area. It bothers me to no end that Georgia can’t find better people of oversee metro area transporation.

Fried Okra

September 20th, 2011
8:40 am

No, HOT lanes are not a good idea for Georgia.

The best idea for Georgia would be to start EXPORTING the yankee trash that has infested this once-great state over the past two decades.

Eric

September 20th, 2011
10:07 am

@Fried Okra – sure, the yankee trash can leave, and take all the jobs and the tax base with it. That should leave Atlanta back where it was in 1980 – a backwoods town with no public services, a low tax base and no reason to visit, let alone live here.

fitzgerald

September 20th, 2011
11:21 am

Those HOT lanes are definitely a HOT topic (pun intended). They are already being used in the Dallas area with more to come on board, particularly when LBJ Freeway is completely redone. In the Dallas area, these HOT lanes are called the “Lexus” lanes. Like it it or not, they are going to happen.

DawgDad

September 20th, 2011
12:56 pm

HOT lanes – bring ‘em on, they will be a constant reminder to everyone of the corruption of government for the privileged and of the State’s inability to plan and manage transportation public works projects for the benefit of all citizens. The advent of HOT lanes is a major reason why I will be voting against a transportation tax increase of any nature.

DawgDad

September 20th, 2011
1:05 pm

Tracey:

Remember, you are PAYING for the privilege of having that double-white line compel you to sit in traffic or take that inconvenient detour (assuming you pay taxes, of course). You should be PROUD of your State and Federal government, and PROUD to pay for all those past and future traffic studies. Think of the jobs you helped create, and remember, you are paying for the cops who will write the ticket if you cross that line!

Hot lanes should not hurt Vanpools and Buses

September 20th, 2011
1:12 pm

Tracey, on the Vanpool issue, is it grade separated or is it an issue of them striping it differently. I don’t understand why federal regulations would have different regulations for HOT lanes versus HOV lanes. Is this a faulty GDOT reading of the regs?

It sounds to me more like they don’t have tolling cameras available to let people get into the lane at that point. If that’s it they need to come up with a fix. Its bad enough they are taking away HOV lanes for 2 people carpooling for single occupant cars but to make it more difficult for Vanpools and the 3 plus carpools is against the push to reduce the number of cars on the road.

And it effects Bus service?

Why spend all this money advertising for people to carpool and use Vanpools and then turn around and make it more difficult to do that.

ThinkB4USpeak

September 20th, 2011
1:58 pm

A better solution would have been to use the two existing HOV lanes (north and south bound) and convert them to true, reversible express lanes. The problem with the I-85 corridor is the high volume interchanges at 285 and Jimmy Carter Blvd. Creating true express lanes for commuters traveling from north of JCB to south of Spaghetti Junction in the mornings and opposite in the afternoons would relive the volume issues at those pressure points. More space for locals getting on would be crated by moving the longer distance commuters off the main travel lanes.

The HOT lanes put existing two-person carpools at a disadvantage (moving them to the main lanes), along with out of state travelers with two people. That means even more people in the already crowded lanes. Those wealthy enough to pay the “toll” will move, but that’s not enough to offset those being forced out. Slow drivers in the “fast” HOV lane will also crowd things. People coming on at 285 and JCB will still cause problems trying to get over to the HOV lanes. This project will fail at everything but raising revenue.

At a minimum, they should have allowed true two-person carpools (not one driver with an infant or child) that take a car off the roads to continue to use the HOT lanes for free. Enforcing the “Three is OK but Two have to Pay” rule will be a nightmare as well.

ThinkB4USpeak

September 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

Clay, what are you basing your “–For every car that goes from the HOV lane to the general purpose lane… there is more than one car moving into the free flowing HOT lane!–” comment on?

I’m not sure I agree, but time will tell. The majority of people in the HOV lane today are two car carpools – including many from out of state – who will not be allowed in tomorrow unless they get a third person or pay. I’m not convinced that the number in will exceed the number being forced out.

Politi Cal

September 20th, 2011
3:39 pm

I thought we had already paid for these highways with out tax monies. Is there no level to which government will not sink to soak the average guy???

Ed

September 20th, 2011
3:43 pm

Our tax money is paying for this. Why wasn’t the public allowed to vote on whether they wanted to have this or not? Who is responsible for implementing another tax on the Working class without our consent?

Beowulf

September 20th, 2011
3:49 pm

Tracey @ 8:05,

I have a carpool that leaves from Discover Mills on Mon & Tue. I am planning to go down Sugarloaf to 316 and pick up the HOV lane there, and use it to get into the lane well before Pleasant Hill. It’s a bit inconvenient compared to now, but I think it will probably work ok.

Road Scholar

September 20th, 2011
3:59 pm

Clay, sorry to still disagree. If the HOV2 lanes are full, and you shove the majority of them into the general use lanes, the GU lanes will be even more congested. Even if a % of the HOV2 become HOV3, and people pay the per mile toll, the operations of the Managed lane will move less cars.The headway (space btween cars) in the managed lanes should be 45 ft, while the headway of the HOV lane will be much less (Zero since Atlantan’s tailgate…. I mean draft so close!

Tracey

September 20th, 2011
4:19 pm

It does hurt the Vanpools and the Express Buses. There is no entrance to the lane where there used to be an entrance. Now you have to go north to Suwanee, cross the bridge, Go back south on I-85 and access the lane where it starts, go to 400 from Discover Mills and dump into two lanes of bumper to bumper traffic and in a short distance get over two lanes in that traffic, or you get on at Sugarloaf and sit in Bumper to bumper traffic for 6 miles in the worst backup of the commute.

The buses, according to Gwinnett Transit, have been advised to take “surface streets” from Discover Mills to Beaver Ruin. Yeah that isn’t gonna add 15 or 20 minutes to the bus commute. HA!!!!

Vanpools are exempt from the tolls, but this change will cause more backup because we cannot get to the lane quickly and get out of the other lanes. Getting the buses and the vanpools into that lane helps relieve traffic in the other lanes.

And yes, the director of the Georgia Toll Roads commission specifically told me, “It’s a federal regulation that entrances must be a certain distance apart.”

It isn’t just my vanpool, they have received, according to the Director of the Toll Road Commission, 1000s of complaints from people affected in the Discover Mills area by the lack of an entrance there.

It punishes those who are trying to help the traffic situation by giving up their mobility at work.

Tracey

September 20th, 2011
4:20 pm

Thanks Beowolf! :) I meant to say 316 instead of 400. Yes it is inconvenient and it adds time to the commute. But it is an alternative to sitting in traffic until Beaver Ruin! :)

Courrtney

September 20th, 2011
4:49 pm

Carpooling in Gwinnett is DEAD. We will now have to face more traffic, increased costs in gasoline and insurance due to more use. Thanks GaDOT for using our tax money to make our lives worse.

Eric

September 20th, 2011
5:51 pm

I agree with Ed–I never voted for this “tax” increase. Sorry Ms. Dodd, but your article wasn’t very convincing. You act as if most people can just decided to avoid traffic. Don’t you realize rush hour is almost entirely comprised of drivers heading to/from (as if that was a choice)? I doubt too many people take I-85 for hair appointments at 8:30a.

Eric

September 20th, 2011
5:52 pm

That is . . drivers head to/from work . . .

Mike

September 20th, 2011
6:32 pm

If all of you morons would be more supportive of expanding rail transit we wouldn’t have to build all these HOT lanes.

Brooke

September 20th, 2011
9:09 pm

What about adding another bridge over the Chattahoochee River so that all of North Fulton doesn’t have to use ga-400 or roswell road to get to the Perimeter business district? It is rediculous that ga-400 has exit only lanes southbound until Holcomb Bridge Road. The least that could happen is they build another lane on the ga-400 river crossing. That would make such an incredible impact to the area!

Ripped off

September 23rd, 2011
7:24 am

Like others have said, I am would like to know which of my congress members approved this project. As a life long Gwinnetian I commuted through a lot of construction and paid a lot of taxes for the HOV lane to be implemented. My business requires being on the road so I learned to take someone with me to enjoy the benefits of that lane. Now the carpet has been pulled out from under us and we have to pay yet again to use that lane. How can they legally change the purpose of why it was built?

Chris

September 23rd, 2011
7:29 am

It’s all about the benjamins baby. Glad I don’t commute from OTP

Ripped off

September 23rd, 2011
7:30 am

Benita Dodd is an idiot by the way. So based on her article, not only would we have to pay to use the lane but we have to pay our plumber a higher wage since that cost will be factored in to our bill. Based on the sprawling nature of Atlanta, using a rail or bus system is very impractical for a large part of the population using 85 every day. Also, as I recall the “guaranteed” 45mph has never been successful at any other location. Try to raise the MARTA toll by .50 and you get an outrage. But charge me $2.00 to travel 2 miles and that is fair. C’mon man.

LongHaul

September 23rd, 2011
7:39 am

They call it the express lane. Let’s be honest and call it what it is: The Extortion Lane.

Tony

September 23rd, 2011
7:43 am

Who ever brought this idea to our region and who ever backed this idea can be booted next election.What a beautiful thing !! Cobb Co.can get to work now letting our elected officials know, we do not want this.

Road Scholar

September 23rd, 2011
7:50 am

Brooke: There was a planned new river crossing for vehicles at Morgan Falls. That was abandoned after the neighborhoods fought it. Instead they are looking at a pedestrian/ bike bridge. Alternates for Johnson Ferry Road across the river from east Cobb was also examined. The best (notice I didn’t say preferred) was to turn it at Columns Drive and meet up with Riverside Drive before Heards Ferry. Again the politics of such a proposal would not let it be implemented.

Since you desire this, where would you propose to place it? (don’t get me wrong, I support another river crossing.)

Back to on topic…In an article today in the AJC, it stated that the first year maintainance/operation would cost more for the HOT lane than revenues collected!!! Since the road is already full, how does the state propose to make a profit, or break even? Does that imply, since the lanes will be full when it is openned, that the per mile cost to use will need to go up?

Bill

September 23rd, 2011
7:54 am

Are you out of your freeking mind??? You want me to pay to use a lane that my tax dollars already paid for? Not hardly!!! I want my MONEY back with interest, please!!! Oh, and I agree with the Tony, further up the blog, to those Elected officials, “Do not get comfortable in your office”, you will be leaving it shortly, when you get booted out!!!

Corey

September 23rd, 2011
7:59 am

My my my. What are you people complaining about? I have the options of driving straight down Peachtree uninterrupted for about 5.7 miles to get to work. I can also catch the MARTA bus #110 which runs every 15 mins. during rush hour and transfer to the train at Arts Center Station. I can either drive to Lindberg Station about eight minutes from home, park free and catch a MARTA train or drive to Ars Center Station less than five minutes from home and catch a MARTA train. The convenience of intown living. I knew back in the 70’s when all the booming sounds of dynamite blasts under Peachtree for MARTA tunnels would pay off. I’m loving it!

OedipusTax

September 23rd, 2011
7:59 am

I would like a public accounting beginning October 1. I want the revenue collected from the Pass system reported to the public each month. It cost $110 million, I believe, so if 1 million a month is collected, the project will pay for itself in under ten years. But let us be sure that any money collected from public bureaucrats, who will ride for free, you can bet, is screened out of the revenue stream. I maintain this project was done for public bureaucrats, period, and never could be cost justified. So, please, let’s report actual revenue collected each month, so that this public project can be recognized as a fiasco. This is now a public bureaucratic fat cat arrogant lane.

Faye

September 23rd, 2011
8:00 am

This is ridiculous! Who was the bright person or persons to come up with this idea? You will not help traffic at all. Also to charge up to $.90 a mile is stupid. I agree with Bill … we have to pay a fee to drive on ROADS OUR TAX DOLLARS HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR! I ALWAYS vote in EVERY election I am able to vote in for reasons like this one. We have a lot of idiots in office including the Republicans and Democrats!

Scott

September 23rd, 2011
8:03 am

“Hello … we’re with the government … we’re here to help!”

Quit doing us favors, PLEASE.

gabugman

September 23rd, 2011
8:12 am

Sorry, gonna yell this to get my point across:

TIRED OF TAKING IT IN THE U KNOW WHERE (YEP, THE POCKETBOOK/WALLET)?

STARTING THIS NOVEMBER,

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

TIME TO SEND THE MESSAGE THAT WE’RE TIRED OF THE CONTINUED RAPING OF THE MASSES AND PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS ARE NO LONGER SAFE.

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

NOT EVEN YOUR LOCAL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

RE-ELECT NO ONE!

TIME TO TAKE BACK YOUR COUNTRY, AMERICA!

Thank you, rant over.

Madea

September 23rd, 2011
8:15 am

Mike…..say it again so they can really hear you!!!!!

IF YOU IDIOTS SUPPORTED AN EXPANSION OF MARTA INTO YOUR PRECIOUS GWINNETT NEIGHBORHOODS THIS WOULDN’T BE AN ISSUE.

OedipusTax

September 23rd, 2011
8:24 am

One on other matter, please note that the new GA 316 / I-85 intersection cost something like 150 million, more than Sphagetti Junction. And why was it built? 316 used to enter I-85 from the left. And many people were being killed or injured by trying to make it over 5 lanes to the right to exit to Pleasant Hill. Now, however, for the Pass System, this hazard has been multiplied many times over. The Pass System very well may end up killing some of the fat cat bureaucrats that cut in front of the poor peasants that can’t afford to ride in the hot lane. But it will also kill some of the poor peasants. The distance to exit the hot lane to I-285 headed south on I-85 in rush hour? Just try it. If you can do it legally, without killing anybody? However, the fat cats cutting over will surely piss off the poor smucks who aren’t stupid & arrogant enough to risk their lives to ride where only public bureaucrats can afford to travel.

Tammy

September 23rd, 2011
8:26 am

I cannot understand why we gave away these lanes, paid for by the taxpayers, to a private contractor. The initial construction of the HOV lanes were just an excuse to build more roads…they never intended them to help with congestion (but it sure sounded good so they went with it). I’m so happy I don’t have to drive on 75 or 85 every day. All of my co-workers from the suburbs look completely frazzled when they get into the office.

markie mark

September 23rd, 2011
8:28 am

Horrible Horrible Idea….its a simple money grab that we will regret in the long haul..

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
8:31 am

We don’t need more lanes and roads.

What we NEED to do is get rid of all the worthless yankees who have infested our State over the last 20 years and send them back to from which they came.

Vote em out

September 23rd, 2011
8:35 am

Our elected officials will get pink slips in November! Do they ever do anything at all to impove the lives of anyone but the greedy????

KA

September 23rd, 2011
8:44 am

GRTA started a commuter Xpress bus from Dacula to downtown Atlanta 2 months ago and I got out of my car and onto the bus. The bus travels in the HOV soon to be HOT lanes. The HOT lanes will do nothing to relieve congestion. I think the traffic czars should had invested those millions of dollars into increased bus service/rail service, and established more multi-modal stations that could deliver commuters to destinations all over the Atlanta area. Mass transportation options take cars off the road and relieve congestion. Creation of the HOT lanes does nothing to take vehicles off the road, and the cost to ride in the HOT lanes is way too high!

Courrtney

September 23rd, 2011
8:46 am

The HOT are extremely dumb. Every Gwinnettian will now vote NO on that 1 cent sales tax.

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
8:51 am

By the way…

“Hope & Change” BLOWS.

(So does any loser who keeps voting for it.)

Peter

September 23rd, 2011
8:51 am

Lexus lanes are a money making scam, not intended to reduce congestion.

I was introduced to public transit while living a dozen years in Philadelphia, where everybody rides the trains. We had to buy a second car when we moved to Atlanta because the socio/economic “norm” here is that the poor ride MARTA and the rest drive.

Problem here is that Atlanta/Georgia hasn’t moved past that limitation. “Leadership” has not grasped the advantages of mass transit. Until they do, and stop paving more highways, the congestion will never go away.

Economics will be a driving force, when more people find it too expensive to drive, as fuel prices rise. However, without leadership foresight, transit won’t be here in time.

With traffic congestion, education failures, water issues and the like (making Atlanta less attractive); corporations and workers will be less inclined to relocate here (realestate prices will fall) . . . the region will fall into decline.

It won’t get better in my lifetime.

Anon-ga

September 23rd, 2011
8:53 am

This May be the dumbest thing that the DOT has yet come up with – make us pay for roads that already exist??? I hope the darn things sit empty. I would rather sit in traffic for hours than pay the exorbitant fees they are levying with this debacle. What a FUBAR!!!

OUCH ! i bumped my head

September 23rd, 2011
8:55 am

I carpool down 85 3 times a week minmium for the last 10yrs and now they are telling me I cannot carpool without paying a toll and all the can come with is “Your getting a deal because you can split the cost of the toll with your partner” I DON’T THINK SO!! just another tax grab and the DOT aka Department of Turkeys will not be recieving one DAMN DIME of my money

Andrew

September 23rd, 2011
8:57 am

These lanes will just confuse the heck out of people. They will dive in and out of the lanes to avoid the toll sections. They will probably get charged even when in the next lane over. HOV cars will never figure out when/how to use the lane. They have antenas over every lane so they can track what anyone with a Peach Pass is doing on the road. And then there are those slow busses that get into the lanes and won’t do the speed limit. Do we get a rebate when a county bus is makeing the express lane slower than the normal lanes?

Just more govt spending that will take decades to “break even”.

Soon-to-be former-Gwinnettian

September 23rd, 2011
9:02 am

Let’s see.

School that focus only on test scores, at the expense of learning.
A commute into town that’s bad on a good day, and tomorrow it gets worse, and the taxpayers had NO say in the matter.
Corrupt County officials who sold snake oil and everything else and, oh yes, are indicted for some land mis-dealings.
A baseball stadium that we didn’t need, that cost more than double what the taxpayers were told.
Gangs everywhere you turn.
Housing market in the garbage.
Empty strip malls and half-constructed abandoned subdivisions every 300 yards or so.

No wonder they took down the GWINNETT IS GREAT tank! Progress only USED to live here. …

Just like us. We’re packing up and walking away. Gwinnett is wretched and we have nothing nice to say.

Are the lanes a good idea? Well, taxation without representation and a system that they KNOW is going to add more traffic to the regular lanes than it absorbs — how can that be a good idea? Follow the money, and you’ll see for whom it was a good idea. That’s about it.

NoSympathy

September 23rd, 2011
9:04 am

I love reading all the complaints of suburbanites concerning their traffic nightmares. Maybe if you folks made different choices (not living 25+ miles away from work) and actually supported transit and other transportation services you wouldn’t be in this bind. Here’s a nice nugget for you folks to marinate on, the average Atlanta commuter spends around 240hrs a year driving to and from work…that’s more time than most of you spend on vacation! Hope you enjoy that cookie cutter home out in the sticks.

Sincerely,

ITP Resident

Steveo

September 23rd, 2011
9:06 am

I am SO GLAD our family just moved out of Atlanta (after 17 years). Enough is enough … and I’m not telling where we went.

mike "hussein" smith

September 23rd, 2011
9:06 am

The taxpayers paid for those lanes, but most will be edged out. It’s another gimmick for the Legislature to appease the pushy rich right.

Steveo

September 23rd, 2011
9:08 am

@ITP – by the way, nobody over 30 years old uses “ITP” anymore. It shows your blind arrogance and ignorance.

CJ

September 23rd, 2011
9:10 am

I’m no traffic engineer, but as soon as I heard that the HOV lanes would require payment, I knew that the other 4 or 5 lanes would become more congested. I see this multi-million dollar idea going down the drain within 2 years.

OedipusTax

September 23rd, 2011
9:10 am

$110 million project. Requires 1 million a month over 10 years to pay off the project, approx. 20 working days each month, thus $50,000 in revenue required each day, or $25,000 per rush hour. If each car is charged $5, 5,000 cars have to travel in the hot lane per rush hour. Capacity of an interstate lane is 2,000 an hour, thus the lane would have to be full for 2 1/2 hours each rush hour. If each car is charged $10, only 2,500 cars have to travel in the hot lane per rush hour. Again, this is on the basis of real paying cars, not bureaucrats that have their Pass card paid for by the taxpayer. One will be able to soon witness with their own eyes every day just how foolish public bureaucrats can be with taxpayer money if one counts the actual cars in the hot lane on their way to work.

jrev

September 23rd, 2011
9:11 am

@Fried Okra-
Actually, most of us true southerners would like to get rid of the trash like you,

Carlos

September 23rd, 2011
9:15 am

WASTE OF MONEY!!! WASTE OF MONEY!! WASTE OF MONEY!! Interstates aren’t just for those in the immediate area but also for those travelers who pass through on a daily basis. Do these people do any type of studies on transportation at all before they decide to go out and throw away millions of dollars on projects that won’t even make a dent in the problem. The problem is rush hours, we know this and also if there is an accident. They didn’t add another lane they just turned it into a toll lane in hopes to make the rush hour commutes smoother. If you have a 8oz. glass and you try to put 10oz of water into it, you have an overflow. That’s what is wrong with metro Atlanta. The infrastructure at rush hour can’t handle the volume of traffic. Most of the traffic congestion during rush hours is north of I-20. So the only way to me metro Atlanta is going to solve or lessen traffic congestion is 1. have a transit system that services the suburbs and runs along the top end of the perimeter. 2. divert traffic coming from Virginia, South & North Carolina and Tennesee away from 285. I know businesses won’t be happy but they still will have enough customers. If we are really going to get serious about traffic then we have to look at real solutions and quit putting bandaids on the problem. Atlanta is the hub of the South. It no longer can handle the amount of traffic that comes through here. Unless we get solution minded individuals in positions who honestly care about solving problems and less about satisfying a certain few then I gurantee than we will be back here shortly again re-visiting the same issues.

Steve

September 23rd, 2011
9:17 am

This was the single dumbest act ever committed in the name of solving a transportation problem. Had to be that the contractors who installed this mess are the ones to get rich off getting paid for it, while it will take FOREVER to pay for itself (if ever) and won’t do a darn thing but make the other lanes more crowded. I still can’t believe this actually happened in 2011.

Amos

September 23rd, 2011
9:21 am

Taxation without representation!

Wasted Taxmoney

September 23rd, 2011
9:22 am

$60 million spent on HOT lanes should have been spent on MORE lanes! Just another goofy idea from Washington, which created the massive traffic jams in DC. Where is Tom Moreland when we really need him?

Shaun

September 23rd, 2011
9:22 am

Exactly, how much are the toll lanes???

MIkeinATL

September 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

I just can’t believe that these projects got off the ground. Dumbest idea ever. We all know that government employees are notoriously lazy but this is ridiculous. Rather than focusing on what’s effective, our leadership has decided to focus on what’s easy. This is a rampant issue in government.

Vote out the incumbents!

MIkeinATL

September 23rd, 2011
9:30 am

Between these HOT lanes and the privatization of parking on public streets in Atlanta, I have to ask myself, what team are these officials playing for?

another blunder

September 23rd, 2011
9:35 am

This is a horrible idea. I think today’s article summarizes why.

OedipusTax

September 23rd, 2011
9:36 am

@Shaun – the lanes will cost as much as some public bureaucrat can dream up. “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.” The language of bureaucrats, that don’t have to cost justify anything, sure is mysterious, isn’t it? There’s our answer, and it answers NOTHING. You can bet it costs the public bureaucrat NOTHING. Riding in the hot lane is his free perk, or maybe even part of his union contract paid for by the taxpayer.

Aquarius

September 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

Just another way for the State to stick their grubby hands in the pockets of those willing to pay to ride in the HOT lane so they will have more money to squander. Very little of the money will actually go to maintain the HOT lanes, the rest will go to whatever they want to do with it. Just like it is with everything else. Basically another tax for John Q. Public that most won’t be able to afford which means more conjestion for all of us “regular” folks while the privileged few who can afford it get yet another perk and the State gets more money to waste. And the beat goes on and on and on…..

huntersdad

September 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

So we have to pay to use lanes we have already paid for and were using as HOV lanes? So some guy in a mercedes BY HIMSELF will not have to sit in traffic. This will help traffic how? This is about money not fixing traffic.

Chuck

September 23rd, 2011
9:42 am

I drive I-85 everyday, Northbound about 7am and Southbound at 4:30 pm. I won’t be spending $6 each way to use the new lane. It is a stupid, pie in the sky idea that will reduce available lanes for commuting. The other stupid idea are those lights on the on ramps. I see the one at Northridge to 400 (southbound) turn off and on, regardless of the flow of traffic on 400. It only backs the traffic up on Northridge and Dunwody Place and isn’t making the flow on 400 any better. These are ridiculous ideas from people who can’t think logically and who want to spend taxpayers dollars. The solution to traffic congestion is for employers to stagger hours for employees, or build more roads. Period. There will never be a commuter train or trolley or whatever from my house in Roswell to Lawrenceville. I am never going to catch a bus, catch a train, go to Lindbergh, ride to Doraville, hitchhike to a Gwinnett bs, etc… Get real. I am using my car. And why are trucks using the two left lanes on I-85? There needs to be a clearer message like XX – NO TRUCKS – XX over both of those lanes.

Terrible Idea

September 23rd, 2011
9:47 am

The best part – the HOT lane becomes an HOV lane south of 285. Since 85S is already a parking lot with over 100 extra cars now making it a dead stop, a cop will probably just sit there and pull over all those single drivers who are now illegally driving in lanes reserved for carpools.

The HOT lanes are nothing but a hot mess!

ForestGump

September 23rd, 2011
9:49 am

Stupid Is as Stupid Does!!!! This is undoubtedly the most asinine idea the Georgia Republican Legislature has ever come up with. Talk about a waste a taxpayer money. Now they want to extort more money from our pockets. This road and the other proposed roads were never built with the intent to be toll roads. There is a difference between the two. These idiots have no concept of how to solve the congestion here in Georgia.

George is and always will be a second tier city until they get the balls to create a REAL transporation system, that is statewide. It will take Heavy and Light rail systems integrated with the buses and hubs to do this. Yes it will cost money (but you have to spend money to make money, duh), but think of the many jobs that will be created.

SAWG

September 23rd, 2011
9:50 am

Economists have been recommending HOT lanes for years however it works best when drivers have choices. The HOT lane concept fails in Atlanta because Metro Atlanta does not offer drivers enough viable alternatives to driving a car. This is a car city and MARTA is not sufficient.

The HOT lane is a good idea for long haul truckers. Let them drive in a lane of their own and pay for it.

Simone in L'ville

September 23rd, 2011
9:50 am

This is a horrible idea. The GOAL of the HOV was to decrease pollution by encouraging car pooling. How does the HOT deliver on this? It will increase traffic and congestion. Furthermore, it isn’t a great option–how on earth does one work through six lanes of bumper to bumper traffic to get to the HOT lane (oh, and only enter/exit at the dotted line)? Yet another bad idea with horrible execution.

Mary K

September 23rd, 2011
9:52 am

I wouldn’t have a problem with the lane if they kept the regular HOV rules, but added the option for single occupancy vehicles to pay to drive there. This system; however, is HORRIBLE.

Maggie

September 23rd, 2011
9:53 am

The Georgia Peach Pass has a FB page….State Road & Tollway Authority. I wrote on the wall a week ago and they deleted it. So I posted again. They don’t seem to have answers on why this lane is now a punishment to those that do commute? This “Peach Pass” has turned the HOV lane into a penalty for those people that commute and a privilege for those that have money to spare.I am so confused on how they can toll an interstate!?!

Phil C

September 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

I agree with Mary K. And I was under the impression that when they first introduced the idea of HOT lanes in Gwinnett that was the plan, but I see that they couldn’t enforce that so they had to switch it up. But the the rules of it are about as dumb as those stop lights to get on the highway…..waste of money.

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

jrev @ 9:11 am –

If you are lucky, maybe your “god” 0bama will let you ride in his limo in one of the HOT lanes while you get on your knees and pray to him.

Good Luck with That!

def

September 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

I would like Ms. Dodd to explain to me how I would appreciate paying a $10 toll fee rather than a $5 late fee. An I don’t see my employer giving me a $5000 year pay raise to get to work each day. The HOV lanes were a dumb idea and this HOT lane is even dumber.

ken

September 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

I am 100 % against using tax payer dolars to build a road. Then turn around and charge us again.
Promise when its paid off to do away with it.
When it is in fact paid off keep it going without a vote.
I will never use that road even if I am in traffic for a hour

Wade through traffic

September 23rd, 2011
9:59 am

So the 10 min call ahead or notification online in order to ride 3 people in HOT lane for free, encourages phone use or internet use while driving on the highway. Great. We need more smart phone activity while driving on GA roads. Is the Department of Public Safety and Gwinnett County police cars going to continue to sit on the side of the road slowing up traffic when, in essence, the HOT Lane is supposed to decrease drive time?

D

September 23rd, 2011
9:59 am

This is a very sad attempt to raise revenue. If Atlanta truly wants to be considered a “big, growing, city”, it will eventually need to accept the fact that mass transit is a necessity. If you want to bring in more people, you need to find a way for them to get to work. Last time I checked, a 30 mile, 90 minute commute isn’t a selling point. Thanks to the state for spending millions on collecting pennies instead of correcting our education issues.

Georgia Pete

September 23rd, 2011
9:59 am

Are they kidding? They just figured out that the new toll lanes will increase traffic in the other lanes? And they really want us to believe that the increase in traffic in the non toll lanes will not be noticed? This is just government arrogance at its worst. This is nothing but greed gone wild, and it is a horrible idea. The tolls will be too expensive for most people to use at the times they are most needed. And mass transit buses get on for free as well three passenger cars. but there is the problem with three passenger cars: the passengers can be children and other unlicensed passengers. All passengers should be required to be licensed to drive…because they are being driven any way. The only way to reduce traffic in the non toll lanes is to take THOSE WHO ARE LICENSED TO DRIVE off the road, otherwise the provision has no teeth.
Regardless, this HOT lane cr*p is misguided, misplaced, anti-traffic control, and anti-consumer.

Michelle

September 23rd, 2011
10:01 am

I think this is yet another stupid idea by legislators in this state. Changing the HOV lane is helping traffic. All this will do is result in more angry drivers, more congestions. I find it hard to believe that these bozos think people will vote for a 1 cent transportation tax after this lame brained idea.

Clancy

September 23rd, 2011
10:01 am

The writer said in one of her paragraphs:

“”The state’s own traffic and revenue study says the regular lanes are expected to gain up to 90 new vehicles per lane, per hour during rush hour, and at one location 120, making for traffic volumes of about 1,200 to 1,500 cars per hour in each lane. ”

How does this writer get from 90 to 120 per lane per hour and then at the end of the sentence get up to 1,200 to 1,500 cars per lane per hour?

This makes NO sense.

Derryck

September 23rd, 2011
10:01 am

Horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Transportation is a must for people to be able to get in and out of cities for work. They are punishing those that commute to the cities, the DOT cannot even manage the money they are given often jacking up prices and infating numbers. Red lights are ridiculously expensive and never timed correctly because they want more money to time them. Also, they should spend more money on expanding Marta to markets where most of the commuter have gone to. Not to mention the fact that the bidding for the 1-75 and I-85 most likely was won by and out of country investor. So every dime spent on the road is taking money from the area. This is ridiculous and horrible. Move back up North if you want Toll Roads!

Georgia Voter

September 23rd, 2011
10:03 am

Let the politicians feel our anger at the voting booth! Vote out ALL incumbents!

Dennis

September 23rd, 2011
10:07 am

What a waist of money. Its bad enough trying to merge into a lane coming from 285 to 85 North, then trying to get to HOT(mess) lane that you can’t cross the solid lines until a mile up. How does this help? Im a single driver, I will be doing my daily 55 miles round trip route without the HOT(mess) lane

DanO

September 23rd, 2011
10:10 am

Enter your comments here

kmb

September 23rd, 2011
10:11 am

The DOT has no credibility. The 1% sales tax should not be passed because of that. First, GA 400 toll was to end then they lied and kept it. Now the free HOV lanes are no longer HOV lanes but toll roads.
Government makes social contracts with the public. When it breaks them then the public has a right to revoke that leadership.

Ga Peach

September 23rd, 2011
10:11 am

Not too many years ago – the theory was to go green by having everyone “car pool”, which many people are doing, and it reduces the number of vehicles on the road. To be fair – they could open the HOV lanes to everyone – and if a single occupant wants to pay to be in the HOT lane – then fine!! The HOV lane should still be in effect – and HOT lanes for toll !!!!! How ridiculous to stop the HOV lane as it is today! Vote NO to incumbents!!!!

makes no sense

September 23rd, 2011
10:14 am

We live in Gwinnett and travel this section on a semi-regular basis, but fortunately not during rush hour times. Normally it is with the family so we have over 3 people, do we now have to get a Peach Pass just to drive in the HOV lane even if we have 3 people in the car? I also wonder how will the cameras (based on their positioning) can tell if we have 3 or more people in the car especially for kids in a car seat. I just don’t want to go through the aggravation of trying to disprove a ticket or fine.

atl

September 23rd, 2011
10:15 am

I think that was very poor planning and it is not going to help the traffic!

DanO

September 23rd, 2011
10:15 am

What this has always been about is for the rich to not have to wait in traffic with the great unwashed. Every high level executive will now demand a paid peach pass as part of his/her compensation package. More seperation of the rich and poor and we just stood by and let it happen.

rlm

September 23rd, 2011
10:17 am

These are a travesty to give the rich in the northern tier a faster drive. HOV lanes were to get people to carpool and have less cars. People are taxed for these roads and now can’t drive on them. Politicians catered to big contributers with this.

Gregory

September 23rd, 2011
10:20 am

I agree that tax payer money should be used when the profits go to politically connected crooks. Public/private means the state cannot build additional mass transit that would diminish the private companies profits, caused huge headacks in California. This city needs mass transit in a big way, but insurance and road builder donations will keep the DOT crooked house here will keep it from happening and every negative blog against mass transit is paid bloggers for the crooks. Wait you will see companies leave for more modern cities, Georgia is racing towards 1950 at break neck speed.

Road Scholar

September 23rd, 2011
10:20 am

Fried Okra: Mr Obama is not a “god” as you put it. He is OUR President. Why don’t you show some respect? Perhaps you might get some respect from others and you might respect yourself. Otherwise you appear to be stupid!

DanO

September 23rd, 2011
10:20 am

Clancy, if you read carefully it says 90 to 120 cars will be “added” for a total of 1,200 to 1,500 per lane per hour

Driver Down

September 23rd, 2011
10:21 am

The enitre HOT Lane is a sham – it is only a revenue gerneration opportunity and the DOT and State officials could care less about traffic flow.

Think about it – the goal now is to divert more people into clogged traffic so they will use the toll lanes – and revenue will be produced to build BASS Museums in Perry, GA or funnel money to other Projects we do not want or need – but make politicians proud because they get a sense they are doing something.

If revenue is needed for Transportation – tax fuel. and make sure that all tax revenue on fuel goes to the DOT. Do not divert $1MM here or there out of the gas tax to pay for computers or other needs.

At the end of the day – this will hurt our economy and given the opportunity – people will move to other states like Tennessee.

Bill Gullion

September 23rd, 2011
10:23 am

I question the legality of what the state has done to I-85. The road was originally built as a public highway with public funds. DOT has made the decision to make the road into a semi-toll highway!
Don’t tax payers and residents of the state of Georgia have some say in the decision. It’s a terrible idea thats going to bring about terrible results.

Double Zero Eight

September 23rd, 2011
10:23 am

Let make sure there are no exemptions for politicians.
Make them pay the going rate per mile, just like the
average citizen, if they elect to use the HOT lane.

The general consensus is that traffic in the regular
lanes will get worse. What do you expect from politicians
after they promised to eliminate the toll on GA 400?
The answer is not very much!!!

Jeffisaheretic

September 23rd, 2011
10:24 am

I hate to say it, but back in the day we should have built that second connector through town. But you can thank Andy Young and Jimmy Carter (btw who’s library sits at the major intersection of that freeway).

Thomas Pain

September 23rd, 2011
10:24 am

This idea is absolutely boneheaded. To start with, it’s so complicated it’s ridiculous! Is it still an HOV lane? How will cops enforce it? What about motorcycles/buses? It’s going to be confusing enough for those of us that live here, imagine what it will be like for tourists and recent immigrants!

Clearly, this idea was hatched by the father in law of the guy that owns the company that designs the equipment for tracking traffic, setting the tolls, and enforcing the lanes. They claim that the lanes won’t create a profit for the state (which on it’s own makes no sense) but it created a profit for someone, I can guarantee that!

The money would be far better spent improving the infrastructure that everyone uses. I’m thinking bikes lanes would have been far cheaper and rewarded just as many people.

nathan

September 23rd, 2011
10:24 am

Really? MORE congested? I never considered that. I wonder if GDOT did.

br0wngirl

September 23rd, 2011
10:24 am

I just wish, for ONCE, that the people who decide on these ridiculous plans would have to drive that stretch 5 days a week during rush hour, for 6 months, which should include ALL football Fridays. I think that they might suggest something a bit more LOGICAL after that!
This plan is doomed to fail, so WHEN it does (meaning more congestion in the regular lanes), where are they going to find the money to fix it?????????

William

September 23rd, 2011
10:25 am

Yesterday afternoon, the light shower and volume slowing as usual just before spaghetti junction, all the one person per car Gwinnett County residents who normally clog 85 north saw what I saw, the HOT/HOV lanes were backing up, all I could do was laugh at what was suppose to be a speedy transit and wasn’t. I got off at Northcrest Road exit and was able to get a better view of what was a mass of brake lights heading into north Gwinnett in ALL lanes. HAHAHAHAHAAH.

Gregory

September 23rd, 2011
10:26 am

I agree that no tax payer money should be used when the profits go to politically connected crooks. Public/private means the state cannot build additional mass transit that would diminish the private companies profits, and caused huge headacks in California. This city needs mass transit in a big way, but insurance and road builder donations will keep the DOT and crooked gov here will keep it from happening and most negative blogs against mass transit are paid bloggers for the crooks. Wait you will see companies leave for more modern cities, Georgia is racing towards 1950 at break neck speed, would you move your company here?.

DanO

September 23rd, 2011
10:27 am

This is not about improving traffic. That should be obvious to everyone so lets just drop that discussion completely. Traffic will be worse for the “common man” that has already been established. The real question is… Is it fair that just because someone has money to influence the politicians that they are able to bypass our traffic woes and get home faster that the rest of us. Any other comments are not relevent.

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
10:30 am

0bamanomics = Buffoonery

0bamaLovers in 2012 = Buffoonery

This HOT Lane Proposal?

Ditto.

Cutty

September 23rd, 2011
10:30 am

Took me less than 15 minutes to get to work this morning. Could’ve taken MARTA but I may go to happy hour after work. Options, options. Guess its that good ITP living. Have fun come October 1st!

katherine

September 23rd, 2011
10:30 am

I’m one of those people who is getting the shaft. Been in a two person carpool for 4 years originating in Barrow County and ending downtown M-F. To say I’m upset about this is an understatement. This will probably add over an hour to my commute. I can’t sell my house and I haven’t had any luck finding another job closer to home. I’d be happy if the HOT lane could still function as an HOV lane.

Double Zero Eight

September 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

My 10:23 prior post should have read “Let’s make sure”.

Rexdogma

September 23rd, 2011
10:34 am

The hot lanes are just a scheme to make money!!! What a joke.

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
10:34 am

Road Scholar @ 10:20 am = Insecure, Undereducated, Hyper-Emotional Person Who Must Belittle & Insult Others Having Opposing Views in Order to Feel Worthy

JimBo

September 23rd, 2011
10:35 am

You have the ability to influence badly planned, politically motivated and poorly implemented “transportation initiatives”. Its called your right to vote. Vote NO on the one-cent TSPLOST when it comes up on the ballot. Also, don’t be afraid to write the governor and your other elected officials. Tell them NO, as well.

Greg

September 23rd, 2011
10:37 am

I will stand out in the minority and applaud the HOT lanes. The number of people driving in the lanes every single day will not be great due to the cost incurred. But for people who occasionally could use a faster trip the lanes are a great option.

When roads are built there is no contract signed saying that lanes can’t change, that lanes can’t be added, that lanes can’t be removed. In fact, roads are NEVER paid for. There are constant expenses for maintenance. To act like the lanes are being seized is ridiculous. There have always been restrictions on the lane that will now be used as an HOT lane. The restrictions have changed, and I applaud the fact that everyone now has an option for the occasional quick commute. We don’t have the money to widen all of the roads. And the benefits of doing so are highly questionable. It is time to offer creative choices.

Fried Okra

September 23rd, 2011
10:47 am

I hope every single State official affiliated with this HOT Lane project, to say nothing of championing it, finds themselves an Express Lane straight to federal prison.

HOT=Dumb

September 23rd, 2011
10:48 am

flipper

September 23rd, 2011
10:49 am

I’m thrilled. I have the money to use it and plan to. If you make enough to use it, your time is more valuable to our economy than the folks who “can’t” use it. Finally something to benefit job creators.

Georgia Pete

September 23rd, 2011
10:53 am

Are they kidding? They just figured out that the new toll lanes will increase traffic in the other lanes? And they really want us to believe that the increase in traffic in the non toll lanes will not be noticed? This is just government arrogance at its worst. This is nothing but greed gone wild, and it is a horrible idea. The tolls will be too expensive for most people to use at the times they are most needed. And mass transit buses get on for free as well three passenger cars. but there is the problem with three passenger cars: the passengers can be children and other unlicensed passengers. All passengers should be required to be licensed to drive…because they are being driven any way. The only way to reduce traffic in the non toll lanes is to take THOSE WHO ARE LICENSED TO DRIVE off the road, otherwise the provision has no teeth.
Regardless, this HOT lane cr*p is misguided, misplaced, anti-traffic control, and anti-consumer.

John

September 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

Lexus lanes for the rich. Great idea Gena Evans. Glab were paying for your obnoxious 200k salary to run a toll booth.

Sure is working well when 2 drivers are carpooling, but will now take separate cars because they can no longer ride in the carpool lane, a lane which takpayers have already payed for.

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).

DannyX

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.

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.

Boo-Hoo

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?

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.

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.

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.

rm

September 23rd, 2011
11:20 am

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

DawgDad

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.

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.

Lawrence

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.

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?

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.

Chris

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
11:37 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.

Angie

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??????

Mike

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.

smitr

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!!

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.

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!!!!!

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.

RC

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!

Brilliant

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.

JR Hartley

September 23rd, 2011
12:26 pm

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

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME

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?

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!

SuwaneeDawg

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.

JOJO

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!

JOJO

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!!

Jon

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.

John

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.

OedipusTax

September 23rd, 2011
4:48 pm

JOJO is what passes for an Obamamanic these days. Mass transit is advocated by sophisticated liberals mainly so they can drive their BMWs unimpeeded by red-necked dummies that won’t vote for mass transit. Nicest thing about protesting something is that it makes you feel good. And nobody is allowed by any liberal to feel better than they do. They wish to make that against the law.

Mass transit doesn’t pay for itself anywhere at any time. It empowers a union mentality and an ever rising fare. Besides the transit cars run empty for almost 20 hours of the day. And on a cost per mile basis to construct, for mass transit to make a difference, the amount of rail line required would bankrupt the entire country, not only Georgia. (oh, sorry, we’re ALREADY bankrupt). Those of us Yankees that moved down here don’t want to reinvent the Gestapo Union Bully tactics found up north. That’s why escaped to move here.

I’ve been to London, Paris & Frankfurt. The days of building subways and transit economically, as was done there eons ago, has long passed. When was the last new right of way built anywhere in Europe for rail traffic in a city? But morons like JOJO will continue to rant, continue to rave, because deep down in his heart, he really believes he’s superior to the rest of us.

Sad to say that this stupid HOT Lane idea was hatched under Sonny Perdue? Well, sad to say, liberals don’t a monopoly on stupid government solutions, obviously, because this one was brought to us by a Republican.

OedipusTax

September 23rd, 2011
5:20 pm

JR Hartley personifies the definition of a liberal today: “an expert on any problem that has nothing to do with himself.” Killing baby seals, climate change, and sugary drinks in school exemplify these expert opinions of a liberal, simply because it costs them nothing to humiliate us with their brilliance. So, shut down more lanes, this high minded compassionate liberal says. However, don’t inconvenience JR Hartley about anything. After all, he cares more, he’s smarter, and he’s entitled. And you know why? Just ask him. Everybody else is always the problem to a liberal, and our problems all result because we’re too stupid to listen to JR Hartley. Just ask him.