LAWRENCEVILLE -- After outraged residents walked out of a town hall meeting this week, Howard Rodgers jumped at the chance to host another event to talk about the controversial HOT lanes on Interstate 85.
Rodgers, a Lawrenceville man who is gathering signatures for a petition at stopthehotlane.com, is working to coordinate an event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.
He was approached about the possibility Monday by Sen. Renee Unterman, who invited State Road and Tollway Authority and Georgia Department of Transportation officials to a GOP event Monday.
But when many of the more than 200 residents at the meeting expressed frustration that they were not allowed to speak out, both Unterman and Rodgers wanted to plan another event.
This time, Rodgers said, he has invited officials to answer questions, but he plans to leave at least an hour for members of the public to talk and ask questions.
"We will open up the floor," he said, adding that people who want to express frustrations about their commutes will have the opportunity. "Those are the things that SRTA, GDOT and the senators need to hear.
"This is a value issue for Gwinnett County," added Rodgers, whose own commute has increased from about 45 minutes to nearly an hour and a half. "This is affecting our families and our livelihoods."
And of course, it'll give him another opportunity to gather signatures for his petition, after more than 100 signed at Monday's event, giving him more than 3,000 names.