Local man elected chairman of State Transportation Board

ATLANTA -- A Suwanee businessman will head the State Transportation Board.

Rudy Bowen, who represents the 7th Congressional District on the board, was elected chairman this week.

"We have much work to accomplish," said Bowen, a retired homebuilder. "The budget remains constrained and we have to do more with less. We've been doing that, but we have to be more innovative with policies and planning."

At the State Transportation Board's meeting Wednesday, the board approved the acceptance of bids for a high-occupancy toll lane conversion on Interstate 85. The project, which would convert 15 miles of existing high-occupancy vehicle lanes from Chamblee Tucker Road to Old Peachtree Road, is scheduled to begin in mid-August, if a contract is awarded, with the toll lanes expected to open to traffic in mid-summer 2011.

In 2008, Georgia was awarded a U.S. Department of Transportation grant for the project, which includes $122 million for new park and ride lots and commuter buses. Tolls will vary based on the amount of traffic to provide a reliable trip time, a press release said.