Atlanta's New I-85 Express Lanes Off To Rough Start

Choosing the Goldilocks price for a congestion-priced toll lane is no easy task - as the Georgia Dept. of Transportation has discovered after the first week of operation of the I-85 Express Lanes through parts of Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.

2 minute read

October 10, 2011, 7:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

The 10-slide photo gallery of the empty express lane by the congested 'general purpose lanes' and the video of irate motorists say it all. In addition to potentially choosing too high a price range, the high-occupancy-vehicle (carpool) lane conversion to the high-occupancy-toll (HOT or Express) lane was accompanied by disallowing free access of 2-person carpools - only 3+ carpools, motorcycles, vehicles with alternative fuel license plates, and public transit buses travel at no cost.

Consequently, Governor Nathan Deal reduced the toll on Oct. 6 and requested a waiver to allow free access for 2-person carpools.

"Before Deal's action, the maximum that had actually been charged to travel the full 16 miles was $5.50; under the new pricing it will be $3.05, Robinson (his spokesman) said. That's a 44.5 percent decrease; Robinson indicated that similar reductions would apply across the board.

Deal also pledged Thursday to ask the federal government for a waiver allowing two-person vehicles to use the lanes free. That request could run afoul of a legal requirement that the HOT lanes flow at 45 mph or better."

From GDOT: I-85 Express Lanes:
"Registered vehicles can use Express Lanes for a fee that will vary dynamically based on the number of vehicles using the system. The fee will be set to ensure free flowing traffic and reliable trip times in Express Lanes. Visit the PeachPass website to register your vehicle."

Thanks to Bob Poole

Thursday, October 6, 2011 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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