UPDATE: The state has decided we can all be nice to each other. Jim Galloway has the scoop.
Original column follows …
Random acts of kindness have been outlawed at Ga. 400 toll booths, where the only constant is 50 cents of change.
AJC transportation writer Andria Simmons reports workers will no longer accept “pay it forward” donations.
Some drivers had been giving toll workers $1 and not waiting for their 50 cents in change. Instead, they had requested the extra 50 cents pay for the driver immediately behind them.
But some drivers complained that toll workers may have been pocketing the change. Thus, for the last three weeks, toll-takers have been required to return all change to drivers.
The Ga. 400 toll has a curious history.
The toll was supposed to end in 2011, but former Gov. Sonny Perdue extended it until 2020 so the state could make use of the $20-million-per-year collection to finance other highway projects.
Gov. Nathan Deal pledged to end the toll when he ran for office in 2010, but later claimed he couldn’t eliminate it because Perdue’s extension made that impossible.
Prior to a 2012 statewide vote on a new transportation tax, Deal decided it wasn’t that impossible after all.
Politifact Georgia wrote: “Polls showed the tax measure flagging in the polls. Twelve days before the election, Deal announced that the state would pay off the $40 million in new bonds by Dec. 1, 2013. The tollbooths would come down soon afterward.”
It didn’t help. The transportation tax was defeated by a wide margin in the Atlanta area, the only part of the state that pays tolls.
The Ga. 400 toll will end Nov. 21. The toll booths will be demolished in 2014.