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Sandy Springs Meeting Asks: Are Ga. 400 Express Lanes the Way to Go?

A public input meeting was held on Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs.

 

Jim Allison is not a fan of toll lanes, but he would welcome a free flowing commute from his Alpharetta home to work in Sandy Springs.

“I get on at Mansell and get off at Abernathy,” he said. “I could get on at Windward Parkway but the more I can avoid Ga. 400, the better it is.”

On Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Transportation held its third meeting seeking public feedback on the Ga. 400 Express Lanes Feasibility Study. The meeting was held at First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs.

The tolled express lanes would run 24 miles on Ga. 400 between I-285 and State Route 20 in Forsyth County. Similar to the express lanes on I-85, toll for entering the express lanes would increase as congestion in the regular lanes increase.

“You don’t stop to pay the toll,” said Mark McKinnon, GDOT spokesperson. “You would charge up your Peach Pass and it would charge you as you go.

Under the feasibility study concept, additional lanes would be built. Existing lanes would not become express lanes.

McKinnon said the toll is necessary to pay for the project, which currently has no funding for construction.

“Most people are a little leery when they hear the word toll. Most of them think we are taking away a lane when we say toll. That’s not the case. We’re trying to figure out something to relieve congestion,” McKinnon added.

Tuesday’s meeting included informational maps and GDOT officials to answer questions. It followed public input sessions held earlier this month in Roswell and Cumming.

Allison and others complain that tolls remain when projects are paid for. “They never removed the toll they already have so that doesn’t make me feel like I want to have more toll,” he said.

Roswell resident Garland Favorito stood outside First Baptist, Tuesday, seeking signatures for a “Resolution to Stop Theft of Funds from Georgia 400 Residents.”

The GDOT feasibility study period for the express lanes runs through June. Public comment ends on March 30. Comments can be emailed to ManagedLaneinfo@dot.ga.gov; or mailed to Glenn Bowman, P.E., State Environment Administrator, Georgia Department of Transportation, One Georgia Center, 600 West Peachtree NW, Atlanta, Ga 30308.  You can also call a hotline at 404-347-0185.

Brian Oravetz March 21, 2012 at 06:55 PM
TERRIBLE idea. First of all, nothing our State and Federal government does works like they say it will. They have no concept of real or perceived business and personal impact of what they do. Second: The government is dishonest. The GA 400 Toll booths were supposed to have been torn down, but that proved to be a lie. Government will not release a revenue source once we are dumb enough to open up to it. Third: We are taxed and fee'd enough as it is. The government has a spending problem. If they want to build such lanes, they need to cut spending in other areas, and live with a much smaller budget. Fourth: There is a reason that the "managed" lanes that already exist are not highly thought of. They do not work as foretold. And in this economy, we should not have to pay more for something that the government is Constitutionally mandated to provide anyways. This appears to be a bluebird payoff from government to their friends. If they want to do it, act like a responsible business. Create a reasonable budget, cut costs in other areas as needed, fund the initiative with the revenues already flowing into the treasury. No country has EVER taxed itself into prosperity, even if those taxes went to pay for thoroughfare's. The economy is in a shadow depression, taxes are already way too high, fee's are already too numerous and high, gas prices are skyrocketing. How can it be conceived that this is a good idea? Morons in government, that's how.

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