POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Thompson encourages input on HOT lanes expansion

Special Photo State Rep. Josh Clark welcomed his brand new baby daughter, born at 6:19 a.m. Wednesday at Emory Midtown (Crawford Long) Hospital.

Special Photo State Rep. Josh Clark welcomed his brand new baby daughter, born at 6:19 a.m. Wednesday at Emory Midtown (Crawford Long) Hospital.

Gwinnett Sen. Curt Thompson isn't opposed to toll lanes as a concept, but like many of his constituents, he has not been happy with the high-occupancy toll lanes that opened along Interstate 85 a year and a half ago.

Thompson is encouraging his constituents to participate in the process, though, as state leaders consider an expansion to the toll lanes during a public information meeting Thursday.

"I still personally do not feel like these were the best use of money," he said of the 16-mile system converted from carpool lanes. "It works, but only if you can pay for it."

The Democrat from Tucker said he is more supportive of the concept for the expansion, since it will be built along newly constructed lanes from Old Peachtree Road to Hamilton Mill Road.

And while he understands there will still be a lot of people who come to Thursday's meeting protesting the toll lanes as a whole, he wants people to attempt to give feedback on the specifics of the plan. He said that type of feedback was lacking in the original HOT lanes project and led to some problems with the startup.

"I'm trying to be realistic about it at this point," he said of looking more closely at how the process will work.

"I think a lot of folks didn't realize what was going to happen," in the last go-round, he added, which lead to less public feedback on the actual plan. "They had no idea how vehement the response would be."

Thompson said he had hoped to attend Thursday's session, planned for 4 to 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Center, but legislative committee meetings stand in the way. Next Thursday, March 28, when another session is planned at Braselton City Hall, he won't be able to make it because the Legislature is expected to convene into the evening before the final "Sine Die" of the session.Baby newsState Rep. Josh Clark didn't make it to the General Assembly on Wednesday, but his absence was excused.

The Buford Republican was at the hospital with his brand new baby daughter, born at 6:19 a.m. at Emory Midtown (Crawford Long) Hospital.

Baby Elizabeth Ann, nicknamed Ellie Ann, weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20 inches long.

"Chelsey was unbelievably amazing throughout labor and is doing well," Clark said about the birth of the couple's fifth child. "Thank you for your prayers and support. We are so thankful for another blessing!"

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.


kevin 2 years, 4 months ago

I'd like to know how they are going to extend this to Hamilton Mill when the toll lane will have to get pass the I-985, I-85 split in the road for it to continue along I-85. Using the left side of I-85 would be impossible so what are they also planning to build at that spot. There is more than meets the eye to get at the total cost for this project. Point #2: Why waste our time? More people objected to the first toll lane idea but yet it kept on going, just like the Everready bunny! The only hope for the public is to vote out the people making these decisions.


R 2 years, 4 months ago

New bridge over I-985- the cheaper choice than the full blown clover interchange...

I wonder if increasing the number of users was the driving force behind HB475, the wonder bill allowing international driver license reciprocity agreements, whether you read English or not, know our laws in the slightest or not since there is NO test.

(In any of the 10 other languages we do currently)

Hey Department of Driver Services, just do away with any license testing at all for your CITIZENS first! Just pass them out when you sign up to vote, maybe we should drop the voting age to 16 too while we're here.


Alot like ATT urging you to "Rethink possible" which is short for:

Rethink possible if you believe you'll reach live customer service, Rethink Possible if you think your service will be cost effective,Rethink Possible if you think you'll actually be heard.

I wonder what "Rethink Possible" equates to in regard to a number of our state elected representatives?


Don_Coyote 2 years, 4 months ago

Tax monies from all who purchase motor fuels will be used to subsidize an easier commute for the few. Unlike traditional toll roads or bridges HOT lane tolls do not pay for the construction of the lanes. Also by the state constitution the motor fuel tax monies are to be distributed evenly by congressional district and as a taxpayer I would prefer other projects in our district be addressed. Or... they could just save money and eliminate SRTA and just widen the road without the hoopla and extra expense.

I guess Sen. Thompson is forgetting a quote from him that we were in total agreement upon when he said: "It felt like these lanes were designed by the people out of a Dilbert cartoon." But why couldn't we get a quote from some of the Republicans? Everyone still in lock-step?


R 2 years, 4 months ago

Super glued at the hips maybe...


SuxBeanU 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure many more people would attend if they thought they had any chance at all of being heard.


JohnGalt 2 years, 4 months ago

The definition of "insanity" is "repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. How is that working out for you GDP? The hearing is a dog and pony show so that the DOT can say "Well, we had public input..." Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know how well that worked out the last time.


FordGalaxy 2 years, 4 months ago

Once the county or state has decided to do something, then they hold a sham public meeting to, as JohnGalt said, claim they had public input. Regardless what the public says, the state/county will go ahead with their already-decided-upon plan. You think I'm kidding? Just ask the folks on Friendship Road in southern Hall County what happens when the county decides to do something.


WeymanCWannamakerJr 2 years, 4 months ago

From the Atlanta Regional Commission's PLAN 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP): "PLAN 2040 recommendations for the managed lanes system, building off the work of GDOT’s adopted Managed Lanes System Plan. The constrained RTP includes $5.4 billion and 151 miles of the network that can be built by 2040. Private investment is a key component to paying for these managed lanes. The total 374 mile, $16.5 billion vision will also leverage private resources through public-private partnerships."

Quoted here on GDP about a month ago: Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said. "There is a no-build option with this project," she said, contrasting it to the first funded by a federal grant. "We're coming out to the public to solicit their input."

So do I think there is really a "no-build" option this time? Not a chance.


Cinsupra 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree, once the county or state decides to do something, it doesn't matter what the public says.

I think the DOT should build a NEW lane! - since I've already paid for it with the penny sales tax.


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