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Formal request made for free tolls for carpoolers

ATLANTA -- A decision on whether two-person carpoolers can use Interstate 85's toll lanes for free is now in the hands of the federal government.

State Road and Tollway Authority Executive Director Gena Evans and Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden sent a letter Wednesday to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood formally requesting a federal waiver.

The moves comes less than a week after Gov. Nathan Deal called for the change, along with a reduction to the tolls that was instituted last week.

On Oct. 1, toll lanes were activated from Old Peachtree Road to Chamblee-Tucker Road on I-85. The state has plans to expand the system throughout metro Atlanta, but Deal said changes needed to be made to the Gwinnett-DeKalb stretch to mollify angry drivers whose commutes have lengthened.

Many of the critics are people who used the High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-85 for years before the new system allowed only carpoolers with at least three people in their vehicles to use the lanes for free.

In the letter to LaHood, Evans and Golden said "feedback received from motorists" caused the request for a change in a memorandum of understanding, which leaders signed in 2008 to receive a federal grant to pay for the project.

Comments

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 11 months ago

"In the letter to LaHood, Evans and Golden said "feedback received from motorists" caused the request for a change in a memorandum of understanding, which leaders signed in 2008 to receive a federal grant to pay for the project."

What a royally grand bunch of idiots. The state basically agreed to this "project" to back up traffic beyond creation without doing any research into the effect that ending free two-person carpools in the HOV lane would have on congestion just because it would get "free" money from the Feds.

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hpytravlr 2 years, 11 months ago

It is an easy decision. Should take the government years to decide. This is the best argument against national Health-care.

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Jan 2 years, 11 months ago

What a stretch from hpytravlr! This is like comparing apples to seaweed. The government has demonstrated, with the original medicare program, that it is quit capable of running healthcare. This is a program with less than half the overhead costs of your precious private insurance companies. The only flaw in Medicare is the prescription plan passed under President Bush that was a giveaway for insurance and drug companies. Look around the world and see that the major financial competitors to the USA all have national health care. By taking the burden of healthcare from individuals it frees up money for an increase in spending. By taking the burden of healthcare from corporations which have a large expense in health plans for employees, it opens up money for expansion and increased salaries. Currently hospitals deal with many separate insurance companies and multiple policy restriction with each requiring large office staff to help understand each policy and apply restrictions accordingly. With single payer or direct funding, this extra accounting will be streamlined and reduce overhead costs at the hospital as well. With a little research, you will find additional advantages of national health care. Of course, a sudden change to such systems would not be good but we should start a transition toward it. The current health care plan is a very small step but should have included a public option.

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Mack711 2 years, 11 months ago

Now lets say that they go back to 2 person car pools. This will put us back where we started from, **Right? So what is the purpoes of this exercise? It was a waste of over $100 million of your tax money!!! We could have used these funds to relieve the property tax burden of the citizens of the county among other things The other thing this will accomplish it to get the employees that are on the payroll of the toll authority out of a job and lose their free Peach Pass and make them pay just like everyone else or better yet do completely away with this program that will never pay for itself.

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CD 2 years, 11 months ago

@Mack711: you need to think like the government, specifically the Republican-controlled government in Georgia. They are not beholden to shareholders and thus do not need to justify expenditures with quick payback. The long-term goal is to move toward a toll system on all the major interstates in addition to taxes that were to support the highways in the first place. The toll road will pay for itself eventually. Once the toll roads are in place and the revenue stream entrenched, the "privatization" movement will begin. Then we will be serving our toll masters in Saudi Arabia or at some leveraged buyout firm on Wall Street. On a more cynical note, perhaps the Georgia House will offer the citizens "choice" of a "toll marketer" later on in the game as they did with natural gas. We can then choose to pay tolls that are high and rising, higher and obscene, or highest and a nod to gluttony to whatever Wall Street bank we choose. Roadways should not be privatized as everyone has a right to travel unencumbered on the highways by the fact public tax dollars were used to build the highway. Keep this in mind once the Republicans begin the "privatization" drumbeat.

If you voted for the Republcan delegation, you may want to rethink your choice.

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kevin 2 years, 11 months ago

Whenever you sell your soul to the devil (Federal government) you get mandates. You get what you asked for. The Feds are the crooks here telling us you need 3 to be free. At least this is who our public agency is telling us is behind this requirement. I wonder if it is true or not. There was no transparency in this road deal in the first place. It was a done deal from the get go.

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