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Irate residents walk out on HOT lanes meeting

In this file photo, the Express Lanes along I-85 don't show much traffic during a morning rush hour.

In this file photo, the Express Lanes along I-85 don't show much traffic during a morning rush hour.

DACULA -- Sen. Renee Unterman said transportation and toll officials are unlikely to come back to Gwinnett after the angry reception they received at a town hall meeting Monday, when irate residents walked out, shouting to the leaders.

"They bamboozled us," Robert Thompson said as he walked out of the meeting, a GOP event where Unterman had arranged for talks about the controversial HOT lanes project, which has slowed traffic on Interstate 85 since tolls began earlier this month. "All they wanted to do was make speeches. What I wanted to hear is why we can't say to the federal government to go back to two-person (carpools using the lane for free)."

Unterman apologized about the confusion in the format, where questions were directed to officials but residents were not able to speak their minds. At the end, she said she may arrange for another meeting, although she said the Georgia Department of Transportation and State Road and Tollway Authority officials may not be there to answer questions.

Frustrations quickly mounted an hour into the event.

Jennifer Irby couldn't hold her tongue.

"It is a nightmare, and extra access will not solve the issue," she said after interrupting to say that the low usage of the HOT lanes has proved it is a failure.

But state officials said four other cities that have converted high-occupancy lanes to toll lanes experienced similar drawbacks during the initial implementation.

"As time went on, people got used to it, it started to settle out," interim Transportation Commissioner Gerald Ross said. "The data is just going in and it's going to take some time."

Unterman, who represents Buford, said she was disappointed that many people did not stick around to hear answers, especially when the officials said legislators may be able to pass laws to tweak the system, such as giving veterans free Peach Passes.

At the beginning of the meeting, politicians from the state and local level said they were listening to constituent concerns about the lanes. Even a school board member said he would pitch in.

But much of the crowd wasn't mollified by the recent changes prompted by Gov. Nathan Deal lowering the tolls, beginning work on a new access point and asking federal officials for permission to decrease the free occupancy requirement from three people in a car to two.

"It makes me mad that we even had to ask them," Rep. Josh Clark said.

Outside the meeting, in Northview Church's lobby, Howard Rodgers waited with petitions. Donna Helm of Buford didn't hesitate to sign.

"If people band together and don't go on it, that's going to help. That's all that's going to help," she said. "It has done nothing but back (I-85) up even worse."

Comments

NewsReader 2 years, 5 months ago

I just want to go on the record and state how we all appreciate how disingenuous the media was in stating the intent of this meeting was for the purpose of a public discussion forum on the HOT lanes when in fact this was a meeting that had been scheduled for months as a Republican Party meeting intended to allow elected officials to meet with their constituents. Congratulations! If your goal was to Pi$$ off the people of Gwinnett, you were successful. You may have even managed to cause some of the representatives to lose some votes by this little irresponsible stunt. Anything for a story, huh?

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R 2 years, 5 months ago

"But state officials said four other cities that have converted high-occupancy lanes to toll lanes experienced similar drawbacks during the initial implementation."

So lets see how this reply helps the cause shall we? Translated it reads: We KNEW going in it would be a mess and even having been warned in ADVANCE, we did it anyway because we KNOW better.

THAT'S an example of the thinking that will make the TSPLOST such a fiasco if it is indeed ratified. Does it really make sense in light of this demonstration to take our traffic problems REGIONALLY, under yet another new government entity/layer that will draw its brain power from this group? It's YOUR ride after all - remember these "experts" won't be sitting next to you during your commute over the next 10 or 20 YEARS.

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Jan 2 years, 5 months ago

If veterans are considered for free peach passes, then we should also consider free passes for efficient vehicles having 50mpg or greater rated mileage. Then we have senior citizens that should get the same break. Add to that current and retired firemen, police and teachers equally deserving as veterans for their service to the public. With these groups and others equally deserving getting free usage, we might be able to double usage of the HOV lanes and cut three minutes from the average commute of those not opting to use HOV lanes.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 5 months ago

"Sen. Renee Unterman said transportation and toll officials are unlikely to come back to Gwinnett after the angry reception they received at a town hall meeting Monday, when irate residents walked out, shouting to the leaders.......Unterman apologized about the confusion in the format, where questions were directed to officials but residents were not able to speak their minds. At the end, she said she may arrange for another meeting, although she said the Georgia Department of Transportation and State Road and Tollway Authority officials may not be there to answer questions."

Poor babies at SRTA and GDOT. They did something really stupid and everyone called them on it and now their feelings are hurt. WAH! They want their bottles....WAH!....Maybe they should have kept cowering under their desks because the public wasn't as understanding about the plight of a bunch of self-serving mindless bureaucrats with grubby little hands with bread crumbs for brains as they should be.

Poor babies at SRTA and GDOT....They can dish out the punishment, but they sure as heck can't take it!!!!

SRTA and GDOT officials had their feelings hurt because of an angry reaction?

What did they expect? A rousing round of applause and a standing ovation after making traffic on I-85 more than twice as worse before and coming to a meeting to blow more smoke up the public's backside about how great HOT lanes are for everyone's commute? These idiots really are a piece of work!

Oh well, if they refuse to listen now, that's okay because their gonna get an earful when the T-SPLOST gets overwhelmingly rejected and resoundingly defeated in 2012 and when Governor Deal gets defeated in the GOP Gubernatorial Primary in 2014.

With MUCH LONGER morning and evening commutes Gwinnett (and Hall, and Barrow, and Jackson, and DeKalb) voters have ALOT more time to sit in gridlock and think about whom we are going to vote for in 2014. And here's a hint: It WON'T be Governor Nathan Deal...

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 5 months ago

I think that a few politicians at the state level seem to have conveniently forgotten that they CAN'T win statewide office of get any of their little statewide or regional ballot initiatives passed without votes from Gwinnett, which is the MOST populated county in the State of Georgia.

2012 and 2014 would be very convenient times to remind them of that tiny little electoral FACT!

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HonestIngine 2 years, 5 months ago

This has been typical of the Republican party... Tom Rice, Fran Millar, Lannette Howard, Tom Knox are all pushing Cityhood in Peachtree Corners..They are using the Republican platform to get elected for their own personal gain. Then they vote and push personal agenda's down our throats.. follow the money and you will see..Uterman is no different. At least with the Democrat and Independent party you know where you stand.

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MissDaisyCook 2 years, 5 months ago

PLEASE, leave my HOT lanes alone. I have my PeachPass and use it when I need to. These lanes are not a surprise; we have known they were coming for a long time. Where was all the ado when the idea was first presented to the public?

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rowbowtie 2 years, 5 months ago

They did have meetings, but the advertisting campaign for the meetings consisted of small DOT signs that were placed on certain exit ramps. Note, that these were signs that were filled with small text. Very confusing, and not readable when driving by. I can understand why you say leave them alone, because there is a small amount of the population that is using them. I can afford to take the lanes, but i just decided I'd rather leave my house 10 to 15 minutes earlier than pay the toll. Just see what happens when the unemployment starts to decrease. Prepare for complete gridlock. At 9% plus unemployment, we are at the bottom of the curve as far as highway usage.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 5 months ago

"my" HOT lanes? Miss Daisy, they are not "your" HOT Lanes, they were paid for by all of us and we should all be able to use them for free. When you personally pay to have your "own" lane built, then you are welcome to drive in it all by yourself.

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OrganicGrl 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't think she meant literally as 'MY" hot lane.

You right we should be able to use all lanes freely since we paid for them. My problem is I have paid property taxes for over 10 years and until October 1st I wasn't able to use the HOV lane until now when it back a HOT lane

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KillJoy 2 years, 5 months ago

Did you really expect any better from politicans?

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JoJo 2 years, 5 months ago

Unterman was mum on the subject as local tv reporters tried to engage her in a Q&A session after the GOP political speaking engagement, billed as a Hot Lanes Town Hall. The people, those affected by the nauseating hot lanes, had no say so. All they got was a bag of hot air blasted by local state delegation from Gwinnett. Remember, "You get what you vote for!

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Hangdog 2 years, 5 months ago

I couldn't go to the meeting because of other commitments. The article mentions a school board member. Who was that? Also, what politicians were there? Anyone have a list? Unterman came out last week and seemed to be trumping this meeting as a way for the taxpayers' opinions to be heard, yet when they show up, she backs away. Fantastic.

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

One of the represetatives was Brooks Coleman of Duluth. His is in the State house.

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JohnGalt 2 years, 5 months ago

Did anyone at the meeting manage to get an answer to that all important question presented by our distinguished moderator? In the midst of all of his questions regarding “HOT” issues, the question was "When will we no longer be able to purchase incandescent light bulbs?" wasn't it? Really? LOL, this really needs to be addressed as a priority in lite of the HOT issues, does it not? You just can’t make this crap up!

I want to say a thing or two about the two puppets that showed up representing the GDOT and SRTA. What a couple of clowns! You would have really had to have seen these two in action to appreciate it when I label them as puppets. The only thing missing was a cute little stage. Since the people weren’t allowed to ask any questions, and only those submitted in writing in advance were asked of these two clowns who were just birthed from a sock drawer, what do they have as a vested interest? They don’t live here. They don’t commute here. This represents nothing more than a shift in wealth from the producer class to the moocher class. And by all accounts and indication, we are stuck with this crap that has been in the works since 2007 according to them. Fine, then put it out there for all of us to see. We want to know who, what, when, where, and how that makes up this boondoggle we are going to have to live with.

The saving grace with the HOT lanes is that this represents what Gwinnett voters can expect from a Regional Transportation initiative, and the voters of Gwinnett WILL vote NO. Anybody that uses this lane as a source of revenue for them is very self-centered and foolish.

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OrganicGrl 2 years, 5 months ago

No offense to veterans, but why give them use when 99% percent of them causes traffic. This is getting way out of hand...States in the south are the only states that doesn't like change. Every state that has this says it works, but here. Their are so many selfish people here than anybody I have heard from in a long time.

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

Organicgrl: As a veteran you not only offended me as a veteran who went to war so that you could post these comments that make you better than anyone else. Now back to the veterans issue should this pass where veterans get free passes you will be going so slow in that HOT lane of yours that you will be back in the free lanes with the rest of us.

In aummation you have just crossed the line by offending the veterans,plain and simple!!!!!

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Linda 2 years, 5 months ago

OrganicGrl you are an insult to veterans - the people who put their lives on the line everyday for us. How do you know 99% of them causes traffic? Where do you get your information? You just gave all veterans a slap in the face. I am in awe of anyone who chooses to serve and protect this country.

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OrganicGrl 2 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for being in awe...because unlike yourself I served in the military as well for 8 years and proud of it. I can't believe so many people are so sensitive about this subject.

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

If you are what you say you are and have served time in the military you of all people should never have spoken with disrespect to or ABOUT ANY veteran. Having said that from a 'combat' veteran you have lost any creidtability in this colum. It is obvious that you did not grow up in this area. Like we always said in my 60 plus years growing up here , "If you donot like what we do here please feel free to leave. Delta is ready when you are."

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suedehead 2 years, 5 months ago

I'll also add that as a 47 year old native Atlantan, I find it odd someone would comment that we are unaccepting of change. Seems to me we have accepted as best as possible the change and problems caused by the mass influx of transplants to the region over the past 40 years. All while constantly being told "well, where I come from..." I appreciate growth but not the attitude from those that think they are better than local citizens just because they're from another region of this country.

Please source the research backing your comments that "every state that has this says it works." and "99% of veterans cause traffic." Can you, or is this just a knee-jerk comment from a poorly informed person?

Also, explain why taxpayers are selfish because they don't want to pay AGAIN to drive in a lane they paid to have constructed 15+ years ago.

A lesson in grammar would also be appreciated.

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Gateguy 2 years, 5 months ago

Just another revenue stream for the state a way to get the public to anti up some more cash for their pet projects. Eliminate the lanes all together and put them as normal lanes that benefit everyone.

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OrganicGrl 2 years, 5 months ago

If they let the veterans drive here for free once again the system will be abused. Veterans are going to let their children drive their car on the HOT lane for free and probably won't get ticketed for it. The cameras can't tell if their are veterans in the car. This will be the same problem as the HOV lane when 1 person was in the car or had a teenager under the age of 14 in passanger seat.

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

Once again you have crossed the line. Your previous comment about veterans is not accepted in this format. Suggest that you leave the veterans alone, unless you wish to thank them for the right to freedom of speech.. 'All gave some and some gave all'

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JohnGalt 2 years, 5 months ago

OrganicGrl, your credibility in here is sliding rather fast. So, do tell...what was the problem when 1 person had a teenager in the passenger seat? Oh, I suppose a teenager doesn't qualify as a "person" by your definition? You and Miss Dizzy crack me up!

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R 2 years, 5 months ago

Vets prove military service to get the pass - they were shot at or went places to defend us where their return wasn't guaranteed. The families get to share in a humble thank you. I CAN live with that. next

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jack 2 years, 5 months ago

JohannBach- Thanks for saving me some typing!

What I found particularly disappointing was the abysmal lack of leadership by those occupying the podium. It was evident from the start why the audience was there; why not go ahead and address the issue? What resulted was a room full of people angry with HOT lanes became a room full of people angry with HOT lanes AND the Gwinnett delegation. Stating during the brief self-congratulatory remarks that "we ARE listening to you", then immediately disproving it is not the best way to instill confidence or attract future votes from your constituents. The only scintilla of leadership exhibited was when Mike Beaudreau told security to remove someone from the room. Overall, the evening was a dismal, pathetic display by our elected officials.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 5 months ago

Bottom line is this: Skanska, the Scandinavian company that stands to profit from the construction of the Hot Lanes, has signed contracts with the state of Georgia, as the Federal Government has. The money was offered with a catch. "You agree to build it and we will give you the money, but you can't back out if it doesn't work". The State of Georgia has basically sold their souls to the corporations in exchange for highway dollars. Skanska knew these Hot Lanes would create more congestion and said so in their recent study to build a tolled extension of Ronald Reagan Parkway to connect to the Hot Lanes. Here's the direct quote from Skanska's study:

"By observation, the existing HOV lanes are at capacity during peak periods with speeds lower than the design speed for the proposed HOT facility. Hence, the general purpose (GP) lanes will likely see little benefit from the HOT lanes and in fact will likely become more crowded in future years as the HOT lanes will be managed to operate at capacity for a free flow facility from opening day."

The whole point of these lanes is not and never was to ease congestion, it is and will always be to make money and the money that will be made will be given to private industry, completed subsidized, marketed and rammed down our throats using our own tax dollars. This is a scam perpetrated on unwilling taxpayers and it needs to end.

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kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

So much for "transparency" once again. When this project first went public, many, many people gave their suggestions, mostly against this. Too bad all the people pushing for this project did NOT tell us all the requirements at that time. They all knew from the getgo what the Federal government (so they blame) had all these strings attached to this money. How can the public expect anything different when you take Federal money? You can actually stop all this nonsense by not taking Federal money for wasted projects. People, you can do this by finding out all the names of the people behind this project, including those names that had appointed people to the project, and vote against them in the next election. We must have more challengers to these same idiots that keep running to keep their plush government jobs and pensions. Now you know why politicians want to keep donations to their campaigns legal! I never re-elect anyone when there is a second person running. "We are to blame for letting this go on forever."

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Enik 2 years, 5 months ago

Looked like there were some thugs from the SRTA there. What a joke, anyone from downtown is full of it. They were never going to answer straight questions, that is what they do, stall and get angry. That is the way of life of guberment.

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CD 2 years, 5 months ago

"Let them eat cake"--The Gwinnett Republican Delegation when asked if higher taxes, theft, corruption, and manufactured congestion on I85 were issues.

"Let them compete"--an updated version of the above oft thrown about when Americans are told that they should align their standard of living to those in China and India. Even though America is the largest consumer economy in the world, and as the largest "customer" we have the means to insist upon a level field in terms of trade, we do nothing.

A bit off topic but couldn't resist.

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JohnGalt 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm asking that question: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW? Yet I can't seem to get a straight answer. Let's see it in writing... WHO orchestrated this? WHO approved this? I want Names, Names, and more Names. WHAT was the purpose? Was it congestion relief? Was it to fund highway projects? WHEN was it proposed? I want a complete time line from discovery to service delivery. WHERE was it proposed? Was it from Washington? Was it from GDOT? Was it from SRTA? Georgia Legislature? HOW did they manage to sneak this crap through, because as much as I stay on top of things going on in my community, I really never saw this coming until the weeks leading up to the start of construction. If it was highly publicized, then why are so many people asking the same questions? If there is a so-called public communication, it isn't working well. The people who put this crap together don't have a dog in this fight. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Next step? What are the legal steps necessary to remove it? Do we not have any option to file a class action lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of this crap? This is the most prominent example of taxation without representation.

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jack 2 years, 5 months ago

JohnGalt- To get you started, Google "Jannine Miller", then reGoogle(?) adding the word "patent".

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Oliver 2 years, 5 months ago

The purpose of these HOT lanes was never to relieve congestion. The purpose was to try out the technology so that it could be improved and sold to other states for other projects. Follow the money trail....

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OutofMoney 2 years, 5 months ago

Chance are that there were people there to speed about the HOT lanes, but when they found out from people in the crowd it was not going to be pretty, they backed out. Typical of the elected officals and appointed leaders in this county.

Saying that there is not enough information in yet to make a decision, whhat a joke. They are waiting for more and more people to get frustrated and begin to use the lanes, and then say, see the lanes are working. The bottom line as stated earlier is not fro traffic, but to generate revenue. It did not matter that 99% suffer as long as they can pay for this project.

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Linda 2 years, 5 months ago

I will vote NO for the TSPLOST. But we get what we VOTE for and people of Gwinnett need to get off their butts and VOTE. Quit complaining and VOTE. I VOTE every election no matter how insignificant it may seem. Citizens of Gwinnett, YOU are to blame when you don't VOTE.

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JohnGalt 2 years, 5 months ago

Linda, it appears on the surface that local officials didn't vote on this. In fact, I don't think anybody voted on it at all. I think that this was orchestrated solely by the inept DOT at every level; the local level lead by Brian Allen, the state level, and the national level. Nobody at a political level is stepping up to the plate to lay claim to it. Is this precious agency beyond the reproach of the legal system?

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SuxBeanU 2 years, 5 months ago

Not only will I be voting NO on the upcoming transportation tax, but I will also vote NO on Renee Unterman's future as a State Senator. Her phoney outrage over the HOT lane controversy, is only exceeded by her arrogance and contempt for Gwinnett voters. She suckered everyone in that meeting on the false pretense that this meeting was about the HOT lane, when, in fact, it was a political speechfest!

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Braveshopr 2 years, 5 months ago

Jan - you said: "If veterans are considered for free peach passes, then we should also consider free passes for efficient vehicles having 50mpg or greater rated mileage. Then we have senior citizens that should get the same break. Add to that current and retired firemen, police and teachers equally deserving as veterans for their service to the public. With these groups and others equally deserving getting free usage, we might be able to double usage of the HOV lanes and cut three minutes from the average commute of those not opting to use HOV lanes."


To that assorted mix, also add all the bureaucrats and pols that no doubt will have free passes.

Add also ambulances, the police and firetrucks, sooner or later, when the dust settles. And anyone using the hot lane would have to exit for the emergency vehicles, risking their lives trying to get in to the nearest regular lane. I'm a senior, and the last thing I would want is to have it easy while others suffer. It isn't fair for everyone.

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Kent 2 years, 5 months ago

You are so correct. All government employees, past and present, should have a free pass on the hot lane and free access to almost everything. They have contributed so much, given so much, made incredible sacrifices, and served the public so well. Look at our president, he actually downgraded his position in life to serve the people. Most government employees have done the same.

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PaulDouglasSanner 2 years, 5 months ago

Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank those who attended this so-called townhall meeting and who expressed their absolute outrage towards the highjacking of Atlanta metro HOV lanes by the federal government. This action is nothing less than tyranny and represents one more way the federal government is seeking to reach into our pockets and take money from the public to fund the personal pet projects of politicians in the beltway.

Friends, in case you are wondering this action is exactly the kind of behaviour that has American citizens standing up and crying out in forms similar to the "tea party" movement. How is it possible that someone outside of the state of Georgia can make a decision to charge a fee to use the very roads we have already paid our hard earned taxes to build and which were already being used as a part of a sensible plan to lower immissions in the Atlanta Metro?

I just wish I had been free to attend this meeting and lend my outrage. Every time I drive I85 and see the former HOV lane unused or under-used causing all of us that much more of a commute I feel very frustrated and down right angry! It would be poetic justic if ALL the citizens of this great state arose in one voice and said NO!

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Walter_Patterson 2 years, 5 months ago

What this meeting amounted to was total mismanagement by the Gwinnett Republican Party leadership, i.e., Chairman Bruce Levell. Who really thought cramming all those candidates and elected officials as well as people from GDOT and SRTA was smart? This is what you get when you have a Chairman that is out of touch with what really needs to be done in the Gwinnett Republican Party and has no clear plan for leading the party. Heck, half the time, he doesn't even show up for an event or comes and goes within 10 minutes. Also, pretty bad if fellow board members can't even get a sense of what's going on or what the plan is. If the Gwinnett GOP leadership was that unprepared last night as it showed; then we're in a lot of trouble leading into the 2012 Elections. But I'm sure like last time, credit will be taken where it's not due and they'll skate by without much of a true effort to get out the vote. And to think, he wanted to be a county Commissioner.

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JohnGalt 2 years, 5 months ago

Give the feds their money back, eat the cost of implementation and demolition, and fire anyone and everyone that had a hand in this piece of crap. And Brian Allen? Don't look for him any time soon. He announced his retirement, or so did the county, with great fanfare. His family should be so proud of him with a lifetime achievement as a government servant! LOL! On the notion of free passes. Every one of these people (and I'm not referring to the veterans here) should be granted a free pass whether they have one person or ten in their vehicle. However, they should be REQUIRED to use the HOT lane. They will not be allowed in the other lanes. Something else struck me today while I was fuming over this boondoggle. I recall mention at the meeting where some of the revenue from the tolls went to the feds and some of it went to Dekalb County. Why? It occurs to me that you cannot jump onto the Toll Lane at all going into Atlanta from Dekalb County. Somebody help me out here if I am wrong. The only people paying the tolls at all are Gwinnett County citizens. And what have the feds contributed? Is it because it is a federal highway? The more I dig into it, the more it angers me.

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Gabulldawg 2 years, 5 months ago

Please keep boycotting the hot lanes. My commute is down to 10 minutes thanks to peach pass.

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NewsReader 2 years, 5 months ago

And you're probably the same person that takes up two spaces in an over crowded parking lot too because you are entitled to it. You needn't say anymore...we all understand completely.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 5 months ago

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/14/burnout-in-the-hot-lane/#.TqgJLwq-ngY.facebook

Here is a link to a great article which describes the financial failure of HOT Lanes in other states. HOT Lanes do not pay for themselves through tolls alone. They must be subsidized by taxpayers. They are set up to create more congestion and limit the ability of government to build alternate routes or improve existing ones if it will lower the number of cars on the HOT Lane route. This is to insure that private contractors make a profit. One county in Virginia was recently successful in blocking the HOT Lanes through a law suit. Their concerns were that the private contractor, an Australian company by the name of Transurban was going to be given a contract to control the lanes and profit from them without proper oversight and review of the contract by the citizens.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dr-gridlock/2011/02/arlington_drops_hot_lanes_laws.html

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

These are two great articles that should be read by each and every Georgia voter. It explains that facts do not lye. Thanks Lilburn Lady for this documentation.

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Hangdog 2 years, 5 months ago

Good find LilburnLady. I just stumbled across a great quote from Brian Robinson, a spokesperson for the governor's office along with some other information.

"It's one of the few solutions that we have available to us," he says. "If we're going to have new capacity, we're going to have to find new ways of paying for it. HOT lanes are going to be something we're seeing in the future."

Governor Deal acts like he is on the side of the taxpayers/commuters by reducing the toll yet his own office admits this isn't about reducing congestion. It is a way to create congestion, creating a need to build more HOT lanes. Other counties had better pay attention to this.

In 2009, GaDOT approves a $16.2 BILLION plan that includes building more HOT lanes. Bidding is under way for a toll-lane along I-75 and I-575 with a tag of $1 BILLION, underwritten by $700 million in private investment.

They are just using Gwinnett commuters as guinea pigs to try to force us to pay the toll to use the lane so they can say "Look, it is working here." I'm totally fed up with this.

Also, Atlanta Mayor Reed had better pay attention because with all of the disgust from Gwinnett commutes, there is no way that T-SPLOST will be voted for in Gwinnett. And the Governor Deal had better pay attention as well if he hopes to be the Republican nominee the next time around.

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

Should a private company come in and build a road, let's say the Northern arc. They buy the land pay for all costs associated with this project. When the roadway is finished then they charge a toll that is fine. But when taxpayers have paid for the roadway then no toll should be charged.GA 400 may be an exception since it was announced before construction began. Now that it is paid for the toll booths are still there, which tells me that the GADOT is money hungry or that the toll authority is looking to keep their jobs.

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JohnGalt 2 years, 5 months ago

People, this is way out of control and totally unacceptable. I urge each of you to contact your representatives and keep hammering on them to have this mess removed. It's not enough to complain on here about it. Contact your representatives at every level every day and keep hammering on them about it until something is done. As much as I'm tired of having to do just that, well, I'm having to do just that. All of this has been orchestrated by an out of control government agency.

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Mack711 2 years, 5 months ago

Have called more than once and get the same answer. 'We will send this on to your representative.' But will keep calling. Even the Govenors office says the same thing.

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Hangdog 2 years, 5 months ago

<p>@Mack711.It is a lot of both. Sonny created the SRTA to take power away from GaDOT and even rubbed their nose in it by appointing Gena Evans as Executive Director. She needs the job since her husband had to drop out of politics because of his ailing business.

And the governor's office acknowledges that HOT lanes are a new way to get money. The exact quote was:
"It's one of the few solutions that we have available to us," he says. "If we're going to have new capacity, we're going to have to find new ways of paying for it. HOT lanes are going to be something we're seeing in the future."

They aren't going to just cut off the revenue stream of Ga 400. Who really thought they would? About the only toll road I've ever heard of being changed to non-toll is the old Dallas-Ft. Worth Turnpike. When that road was paid for, they pulled up the toll booths.

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Braveshopr 2 years, 5 months ago

Question: If the GDOT and SRTA wanted to do something about the traffic on 85, why didn't they simply give the now "Hot Lane" to all the big rig truckers. Early morning drives on 85 are very dangerous to drivers, esp. at the Old Peachtree Rd entrance.

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