12/27: I-75/575 decision has big impact

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

It’s a good news-bad news day.

Georgia’s last-minute cancellation of high-occupancy toll lanes on I-75 and I-575 has hurt its reputation globally and offers little hope for alternative plans.

On the bright side, a new study says the intercity bus industry, which recently gained a foothold in Atlanta with Megabus and Greyhound Express, is seeing some fast early gains.

What are your thoughts on these transportation issues?

18 comments Add your comment

MobileNana

December 30th, 2011
9:10 am

I took Megabus from Mobile to Atlanta for $8.00 one morning last week and would do it again in a heartbeat. Left at 7:00 AM CST and arrived at 2:00 PM EST (of course, no rush hour traffic). Angela did the driving and saved me $40 in gas money. That said, I’m a transplanted city girl so I value public transportation. Happy New Year y’all!

Steve Barnett

December 27th, 2011
7:48 pm

Ms. Dodd cleverly omits the fact that the reason the governor halted the project was that the private investors demanded that the taxpayers put up $300 million with no guarantee of repayment (ever.) This shows that all three of the “interested teams” were in cahoots in trying to extort the $300 million. If it were a truly free market the three would have each made bids to do the project the cheapest. Maybe one would have only demanded $200 million. Who knows?
After all her whining about an opportunity lost she presents no real alternative. Why not? Because her organization is largely made up of people demanding that there be no new taxes under any circumstances. Georgia should have raised its gas taxes to levels similar to surrounding states long ago. It’s particularly infuriating that as soon as you cross the line into SC gas prices go down. Even with our lower gas tax. No, it has nothing to do with the special formulations required of Atlanta gas stations. Atlanta doesn’t reach to the SC line. It’s because our politicians are beholden to their oil company masters. That’s the real problem. We are getting ripped off at every turn.

Chris Sanchez

December 27th, 2011
5:38 pm

Cancellation of so-called HOT lanes in Cobb and Cherokee Counties is the best Christmas gift the citizens of those counties could have received this year. The same lanes in Gwinnett county have served as an excellent example of how not only to make traffic worse but to also ignore the citizens of that county. As a citizen of Cherokee county I could not be more pleased with this welcome news. Now perhaps a sensible discussion can be had about how to best address congestion through this corridor.

Logical Dude

December 27th, 2011
5:34 pm

Put more money into all around transit solutions, and fund it from the state level.

Another edition of easy answers to easy questions.

Now we just need a state government with the spine to actually fund transit like we are aiming to be a state of tomorrow instead of a state that used to be.

Aquagirl

December 27th, 2011
5:29 pm

The only good news out of this: we can shove this news up the wazoo of the tightwad libertarian crowd. Despite the cries of these loons, private enterprise would never provide a transportation network.

Road Hard (and put up wet)

December 27th, 2011
5:04 pm

Public infrastructure project don’t “pay for themselves”. They ARE publicly-funded. As such they are paid for by the public.

To suggest otherwise conveniently ignores the enrmous (public) subsidy our nation’s highways provide to tire, auto, and fuel producers.

mountain man

December 27th, 2011
4:43 pm

“public infrastructure projects are not suppose to “pay for themselves”!! ”

Building extra lanes for the rich to use to bypass regular commuter traffic is not what I call “infrastructure projects”. If they want it, they need to pay the full cost themselves.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

December 27th, 2011
3:12 pm

Politicians are cowards

December 27th, 2011
2:23 pm

Actually, in this case, plugging-the-plug on the I-75/575 HOT lane project may have been one of the best decisions that a Georgia governor has ever made as the state would have been severely restricted from making much-needed improvements to parallel routes for at least the next 60 YEARS. like Hwy 41 Cobb Parkway, and infrastructures, like adding commuter rail service on the paralleling CSX and Georgia Northeastern rail lines between Atlanta and Cartersville and Atlanta and Canton, respectively.

It was great idea to stop this project before it started as the private investors wanted the state to pony up close to $500 million instead of the $300 million that the state was prepared to spend no more than to make the project more financially viable for them.

Also, the state would have had to have paid a huge penalty to the partnering private investor or investors, in the hundreds-of-millions of dollars, if the state would have wanted (or needed) to get out of the contract before the 60-70 year period was up. This was something that happened in California over a decade ago when the state had to pay over $300 million to get out of a 50-year contract with a private investor after a public-private toll road project proved to be underused (meaning projections were too high as very few drivers used the toll road, instead opting to take another route without tolls) and very unpopular with the public.

Add to all of that the fact that, by GDOT’s own projections, the project would have had minimal positive impact on traffic congestion in the existing untolled lanes.

The I-75/575 HOT lanes project had “COSTLY NIGHTMARE” written all over it and pulling-the-plug on it was one of the best decisions EVER that a Governor has ever made on behalf of the citizens and taxpayers of Georgia.