Nathan Deal gives Ga. 400 tolls a place in GOP race for governor

One day after a Survey USA poll showed him in a virtual tie with Karen Handel for a runoff berth in the GOP race for governor, former congressman Nathan Deal has begun touting a small but significant geographic difference between the two.

The Ga. 400 toll plaza, circa 1993/AJC

The Ga. 400 toll plaza, circa 1993/AJC

This from a just-issued Deal press release:

Nathan Deal, a leading Republican candidate for governor, said today he’ll move quickly as governor to bring down the Georgia 400 toll before the end of 2011.

“As governor, I’ll swing the sledgehammer to bring down the Buckhead Wall,” Deal said Tuesday. “The state has collected more than enough money to pay the bonds for the highway. We are now using the tolls of Georgia 400 drivers to pay for other road projects. That’s not fair to the commuters in north Fulton and Forsyth counties. They’ve carried more than their fair share.”

Back in 2003, Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed legislation to restrict the use of toll revenue to expenses directly related to the road traveled. His predecessor, Roy Barnes, had raised eyebrows when he directed some Georgia 400 toll money to the new Atlantic Station development.

Ending the tolls on Georgia 400 had originally been a cause espoused by state Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton. But he dropped out of the Republican race for governor to run against U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon).

On June 12, my AJC colleague Ariel Hart wrote a piece on where candidates for governor stood on specific transportation issues. Here’s her quick assessment of the governor’s race and the future of tolls on Georgia 400:

Opposition to building Ga. 400 in Buckhead was eased by promises to use the revenue only for Ga. 400 and to take down the tolls after the road is paid off in summer 2011. But faced with the stream of quarters, and burgeoning needs, some state leaders went soft. Leave them up after payoff?

Baker: No. Take the tolls down.

Barnes: Maybe. If there are unpaid repairs or a need for other fixes.

Deal: No. Take the tolls down.

Handel: Maybe. Spend revenue on Ga. 400 “corridor” projects.

Johnson: Maybe. Spend revenue on Ga. 400 “corridor” projects.

Oxendine: No. Take the tolls down.

Porter: No. Take the tolls down.

Poythress: No. Take the tolls down.

Clearly, Deal is attempting to poach support from Handel’s base of suburban support in north Fulton and adjacent areas. The question may be whether Deal has enough cash to get this particular message — should he choose to do so — on television.

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74 comments Add your comment

John Konop

June 22nd, 2010
1:36 pm

This is why we have financial problems, politicians making promises for votes with no money to pay for it!


June 22nd, 2010
1:46 pm

Konop, your post makes no sense. Deal wants to take down the tolls. What’s the problem. They sold us the tolls with the understanding that they’d come down once the road had been paid for. What’s your beef?

Road Scholar

June 22nd, 2010
1:51 pm

Continue the tolls and pay for the I 85 tie in project, at least the state’s portion of the Federally funded project. Then use them to rebuid I 285 at SR 400.

Get ready GA, what do you think the managed lane project on I 85 in Gwinnett is going to do?

EDUPAC on line 2 jim

June 22nd, 2010
1:51 pm

jim we really appreciate your silence on the dirty inner workings of APS, now that the news is out that the disastrous results of the cheating probe have been delayed again. And you do know all about the dirty inner workings as the “insider” don’t you jim?

So jim, we are getting ready to watch the 2:30 World Cup match. Be a good boy jim, and fetch us some food before the game.


June 22nd, 2010
1:54 pm

If they do not take down the tolls how are we going to believe politicians next time they try this. Kudos to Mr.Deal. As for Karen Handel, she needs to quit lying about everything.


June 22nd, 2010
1:59 pm

First one to show up on site and do a “SRTA, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!” speech gets my vote.


June 22nd, 2010
2:00 pm


June 22nd, 2010
2:07 pm

Obviously Deal and Handel are right to end the toll. But let’s get real: no governor is going to eliminate that source of income from the DOT’s already squeezed balance sheet. This campaign promise is the most likely to be broken. Take it to the bank.


June 22nd, 2010
2:09 pm

@Jon: hilarious. Nice one.


June 22nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Will Deal make gay people continue to pay tolls?

Real Deal Steal

June 22nd, 2010
2:41 pm

Typical career DC politician. Makes promises that he will not keep. Flip Flops on water issues. Votes to support Gays in the military.

Not to mention that he lines his own pockets with tax payers money for 20 years while he is in office.


June 22nd, 2010
3:05 pm

Nathan Deal is the most blatant opportunist I have ever seen in politics. He does not care if its whats best…just if its the best sound bite. He will say what he thinks people want to hear…look at his record. The man is a crook, and a liar on top of it all. If you for one second think he would follow thru…your crazy


June 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

What? Get rid of a revenue source in the midst of a recession? Save taxpayers some money? Are you crazy? So what if the private sector is hovering around 20% unemployment. To assure the votes of gov’t workers, the employment rate at the state must be maintained at 98-100%. Why should gov’t employees have to suffer with the rest of us?

Travis McGee

June 22nd, 2010
3:28 pm

I do not understand the support for Deal who barely escaped Washington with the Ethics Committee two steps behind him.

Georgians would vote for a serial killer if he ran as a Bible believing, I won’t ever in a million years raise you taxes and I’ll bad mouth the President at every opportunity, Republican.

Un-freakin’- believeable!

John Konop

June 22nd, 2010
3:38 pm


The state of Georgia is BK if you factor in healthcare pension liabilities of 18 billion that is only reserved at a 4%. The only reason the current budget was in balance was federal bail-out money that runs out in a year.

Cutting fees or taxes without proper spending cuts is irresponsible not being fiscally conservative. It is me, me, me…. now people like you that are destroying our country for future generations.

Do people like you hate your kids?

Ga Values

June 22nd, 2010
3:49 pm

Deal will say anything to get elected, just remember along with Maxine Waters & Jesse Jackson, Jr. he was selected as 1 of the 15 most corrupt in Washington and that is really saying something about his character.

**Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA)**
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

Rep. Tom Price

June 22nd, 2010
4:10 pm

You forgot to add me to that list.

[...] Read the complete story. [...]

Smearing Committee

June 22nd, 2010
4:26 pm

Handel has succeeded in corrupting all the enthusiastic young people that volunteered for her. She engrained lies into them, and taught them to smear an honest, upright man, Nathan Deal. Shame on those who bear false witness against their neighbor, and shame on those who teach young people to do the same just so they can get another vote.

North Fulton Mom

June 22nd, 2010
4:31 pm

Ewwww. Deal’s attempt to use for a cheap vote make me feel so dirty… so… violated. Yuk!


June 22nd, 2010
4:31 pm

Smearing Committee 4:26 pm

“She engrained lies into them, and taught them to smear an honest, upright man, Nathan Deal. Shame on those who bear false witness against their neighbor,”

If what you are drinking makes you think Raw Deal is honest, you need to sell some of it to OBAMA bunch.

Peach P

June 22nd, 2010
4:34 pm

Buried in the crosstabs from the Survey USA poll are those who have already voted early, and their corresponding favorites. Thus, though less than scientific, here are the “polls” from early voting as conducted by Survey USA:

Oxendine: 30%
Handel: 22%
Deal: 19%
McBerry: 5%
Johnson: 4%
Chapman: 3%
Putnam: 1%

frugal voter

June 22nd, 2010
4:38 pm

Deal and OX are sleaze. Please nominate someone else so Barnes won’t wind up be the lesser of two evils.

Educated Voter

June 22nd, 2010
4:44 pm

Konop go lose to Tom Price again. It is an excellent idea to take that toll down, because it was designed to pay the notes. We do not need a never ending toll.

Smearing Committee

June 22nd, 2010
4:49 pm


“shame on those who teach young people to do the same just so they can get another vote.”

How does it feel to be a pawn on Karen Handel’s checkerboard?


June 22nd, 2010
4:57 pm

Smearing Committee 4:49 pm

June 22nd, 2010

How does it feel to be a pawn on Dirty Deal’s checkerboard?

GA DOR Form T-172

June 22nd, 2010
5:01 pm

Can someone please locate form T-172, circa 2009 from the Department of Revenue and repost it here? This form defines the proposed changes that revenue commissioner Bart Graham and then secretary of state Karen Handel proposed to the salvaged vehicle inspection process. Deal says that the safety inspection was eliminated. It was. Deal saw a safety issue with the exclusion of the safety inspection of rebuilt vehicles and the inclusion of only the stolen parts inspection. This form proves that Nathan Deal was telling the truth all along and provides definitive evidence of collusion between two statewide officials to benefit ones gubernatorial campaign. Mysteriously, this form has disappeared from the Department of Revenue website. All it took was one lie by the revenue commissioner to create the illusion of a Deal ethics violation when in reality it was nothing more than a political ambush set up by two sitting statewide officials.


June 22nd, 2010
5:05 pm

Pork Chop

June 22nd, 2010
5:05 pm

My, my! Do I detect a little testiness here?

No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo Ring Roy

June 22nd, 2010
5:11 pm

No matter how you Deal Trolls cut it Raw Deal is just another slimy crook out to make himself rich.

The Name Says It ALL

No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo Ring Roy

June 22nd, 2010
5:16 pm

GA DOR Form T-172

June 22nd, 2010
5:01 pm

If this form T-172 could haven proven Raw Deal innocent why did he not provide it to the Congressional Ethics Committee?

GA DOR Form T-172

June 22nd, 2010
5:17 pm

???? couldn’t locate form T-172, so he just posted a link to George Soros’s personal blog. Look what comes out of the woodwork when you have a smear artist running whose IQ is not quite room temperature.

Lawyers for Deal

June 22nd, 2010
5:22 pm

Former Congressman Nathan Deal avoided a probe by the House Ethics Committee by resigning. He quit to run for Governor on March 21, 2010.

But, the day after Deal resigned, the Office of Congressional Ethics’ (OCE) issued a report on its investigation into Rep. Deal’s misdeeds. That OCE report – initiated by CREW’s August 2009 complaint against the congressman – found that Mr. Deal had indeed violated House ethics rules by using congressional resources to influence Georgia state officials for his personal financial benefit. Most damningly, however, the OCE found that Mr. Deal provided incorrect information on his personal financial disclosure forms. Importantly, OCE issued the damning report after Deal resigned.

The House Ethics Committee, however, never pursued the case after Deal left the House.

But, Deal isn’t out of the woods. He’s facing a state ethics probe now:

The state Ethics Commission is investigating a complaint filed against former congressman and current gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal over his use of campaign funds to pay legal fees to defend himself in a federal ethics probe.

The Associated Press reported in April that Deal, a Republican, had used more than $19,000 in contributions from his state campaign account to pay legal fees related to a congressional ethics investigation.

The probe ended when Deal resigned from Congress in March to run for governor.

The ethics complaint, filed by Alpharetta resident Elizabeth Ott, said Deal violated state law by using campaign funds for his legal defense.

In her complaint, obtained by AP on Wednesday, Ott said it “would defy logic as well as the letter and intent of the statute” for a candidate’s state campaign account to be tapped for an investigation related to a separate, federal office.

No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo Ring Roy

June 22nd, 2010
5:25 pm

GA DOR Form T-172 5:17 pm

Once more, If this form would prove Raw Deal Innocent, why did he not give it to the Congressional Ethics Committee?

Common Cause of Georgia

June 22nd, 2010
5:38 pm

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nathan Deal tapped his state gubernatorial campaign account to pay more than $19,000 in legal fees to defend against congressional ethics allegations.

Former congressman Nathan Deal last week, before reporters. AP
Deal’s lawyer, Randy Evans, called the move “perfectly legal.”

But one nonpartisan watchdog called the arrangement troubling.

“It doesn’t smell good to me,” said Bill Bozarth, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “It is not money you raise and then use to print fliers and yard signs. It is quite something else.”

The state ethics commission said it was unclear whether the expenditures violated campaign law, which stipulates that campaign funds must be used for “ordinary and necessary expenses” related to running for office. Whether a congressional ethics investigation falls into that category appears to be gray area in Georgia.

Ethics Commission acting executive secretary Tom Plank said he could find no advisory opinion or precedent addressing the use of a state fund to pay for legal fees incurred as part of a federal probe.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the campaign merely followed Evans’ legal advice in writing a check from his state account. Robinson said Deal “adhered closely to the rules while fighting these attacks that stem from the worst kind of politics.”

Evans made two appearances before congressional investigators late last year related to their probe of the congressman’s dealings with state officials on behalf of his Gainesville auto salvage business.

On Dec. 16, Evans accompanied Deal to a 2 1/2 hour meeting in Washington with members of the Office of Congressional Ethics. On Oct. 30, Evans met with investigators in Atlanta.

In 2008 and 2009 Deal, then a member of the U.S. House, lobbied the state’s revenue commissioner to preserve a lucrative no-bid contract that had funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to his company.’

In a report released last month, the Office of Congressional Ethics rapped Deal, saying his conduct may have violated House ethics rules. They recommended that the House Committee on Standards investigate. Deal resigned from the U.S. House on March 21 before the panel decided whether to take up the matter.

Deal has said he resigned so he could focus on winning the Republican nomination for governor. He has maintained that his decision to step down was unrelated to the ethics probe.

Deal’s gubernatorial campaign shelled out $19,714 in legal fees in October and December 2009.

Evans, a well known Republican lawyer who sits on the state election board, confirmed that the money was paid for representation in the ethics case.

Noting that Deal shut down his congressional account at the end of June, 2009 — soon after entering the race for governor — Evans said, “the live campaign picks up the tab.”

Deal’s campaign could not say Friday whether another $17,363 in payments to Evans’ law firm in January and February were related to the ethics investigation

John Konop

June 22nd, 2010
5:57 pm

Educated Voter,

It is selfish voters like is why our country is so far in the red! A responsible adult would say no more cuts until we cover our bills. A selfish pig like you like who hates our future generations would not care and let their kids worry about it.

John Konop

June 22nd, 2010
5:58 pm

… selfish voters like you is why….

….selfish pig like you who hates our future generations….


June 22nd, 2010
6:09 pm

GA DOR Form T-172 5:17 pm

What is your point? I don’t think you know what you are talking about, the simple fact is Deal is in the same league as Rangel,Waters,Ensign & the late Murtha. The simple truth is a vote for Deal is a vote for Barnes.

Deal is a crook

June 22nd, 2010
6:47 pm

Name say it all. Deal has made millions off of the tax payers he was elected to serve. Do we really want a DC insider to run our state? Does our state need some one who talks about “Ghetto Grandmothers’?

News Update – June 23, 2010

June 23rd, 2010
12:04 am

[...] In latest Survey USA Poll it shows Nathan Deal in a tie with Karen Handel for the GOP Race for Gover… [...]

Deal fades to THIRD

June 23rd, 2010
6:45 am

Governor (Republicans)

■John Oxendine: 34%
■Karen Handel: 18%
■Nathan Deal: 17%
■Eric Johnson: 6%
■Jeff Chapman: 4%
■Ray McBerry: 3%
■Otis Putnam: 1%
■Undecided: 17%

Dick in Gainesville

June 23rd, 2010
6:50 am

Looks like I missed out but how can anyone vote for someone like Deal who is pro amnesty? Deal talks 1 way and votes the other…Results= Hall County is over run with Illegals. With Deal it’s the Hall County power structure 1st and the voter last. Come on up to Hall County and see all our ILLEGALS.


June 23rd, 2010
8:09 am

Last week Deal told the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce that the solution to Atlanta’s water problems was to tap the Savannah river, then yesterday he writes in our Augusta newspaper that he would not tap the Savannah river. Deal is just a flip flopper like John Keary, you know “I was for it before I was against it”

Real Deal Steal

June 23rd, 2010
8:24 am

Just saw this. Deal wants you to spend more time in traffic.

A study shows that if the toll is removed “total daily [traffic] volume increases by 18.2 percent, dramatically reducing travel speeds to as low as 16 miles per hour and adding as much as 9 minutes to travel between I-85 and I-285 via GA 400.”

We don’t need career DC politicians running Georgia.

Tired of BS

June 23rd, 2010
9:04 am

If I were that dizzy dumb queen Marc Yeager, I believe I’d be more worried about the fact that he divulged emails from an organization he is no longer running.His credibility is now in question, Interesting isn’t it that he feeds this crap to Nathan Deal. Deal, being the homophob he is, rubber stamps his approval on the mud slinging, against a very nice lady. Looks like we will get a RAW DEAL before he’s even elected.

Handel is focused on issues. She isn’t a RHINO, she’s not throwing the mud…. the men are. I would encourage all Georgia women to reconsider before giving your vote to any male republican candidate who seems to show the disrespect to our republican ladies. Every time we elect a Deal, Ox, Johnson, McBerry, we set ourselves up to be reminded we are fine for republican party grunt work. We deserve better.

We deserve Karen Handel.

Lumpkin resident

June 23rd, 2010
9:27 am

Allow voters of the Georgia 400 corridor communities (North Fulton, Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties) to decide by referendum if the toll booth should be taken down or if tolls should go to other projects in the GA 400 corridor.

I would vote for the toll to remain IF the tolls went to three projects: adding a lane from Macfarland to GA20, improving the 400/285 interchange and improving the 85/400 interchange.

No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo Ring Roy

June 23rd, 2010
9:44 am

Real Deal Steal… shouldn’t your name be “Real Deal Stole and Will Steal Again”

No Ox, Noo Raw Deal Nooo Linger Longer Johnson Noooo King Roy

June 23rd, 2010
9:45 am

I should throw rocks, had my name misspelled.

The Name Says It ALL

T Knight

June 23rd, 2010
10:11 am

TBS@ 9:04. Though I would have phrased it differently, you’re overall point is correct. This election is far to important to get bogged down in chauvanistic rhetoric. I am voting for the candidate with real world experience, and the ability to make the tough decisions. Karen Handel has my vote.

Smeaing Committee

June 23rd, 2010
10:25 am

Handel has succeeded in corrupting all the enthusiastic young people that volunteered for her. She engrained lies into them, and taught them to smear an honest, upright man, Nathan Deal. Shame on those who bear false witness against their neighbor, and shame on those who teach young people to do the same just so they can get another vote.

After reading the above thread, the desperation from members of Handel’s smearing committee is pretty obvious.