ATLANTA -- Minutes after a key vote in Atlanta, Gov. Nathan Deal watched from a web site as a four-mile stretch of Interstate 85 boasted a 4-cent toll.
"This administration gets results quickly," Deal said with a laugh at the almost instantaneous change to the Interstate 85 high occupancy toll lanes, after the State Road and Tollway Authority board approved a toll rate as low as 1 cent a mile, down from a 10-cent minimum.
Thursday's early afternoon vote, he said, allows the lanes now at capacity during rush hour to get more use on nights and weekends.
"It will bring the use of that road back to comparable use in the lanes prior" to the October conversion to tolls, the governor said. "We'll further utilize the pavement that's out there."
During high traffic times, the peak toll has gone up to $4.10 for the 16-mile stretch from Chamblee Tucker Road to Old Peachtree Road, since the toll amount fluctuates based on usage.
During Thursday's meeting, the authority talked about a new mobile phone application for the Peach Pass, now available for free on iTunes, and the addition of live streaming of toll signs to its website.
Later this month, DOT and SRTA crews will place temporary signs on a new weave point near Boggs Road for I-85 south. The new location -- which solves an 8-mile stretch without access -- will allow people, and more importantly, buses, to enter the HOT lanes if they get on I-85 at Sugarloaf Parkway.
Deal said that new access point will solve many of the lingering complaints to the controversial toll lanes.
A critic of the project, which was put into motion before he took office last year, Deal admitted that many still will be against taking the lane, but recent changes make better use of the road.
"Isn't it nice to have choices?" he said of those who refuse to pay the toll.