You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Bill would let state keep tolls after roads are paid off


State transportation officials are seeking the General Assembly’s blessing for their plan to use tolls as a permanent tool to regulate traffic on Georgia’s congested highways.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved Senate Bill 183 by a vote of 50-1. The bill grants the State Road and Tollway Authority the power to collect tolls on road projects in perpetuity, rather than letting the tolls expire once road construction projects are paid for.

MORE: Who pays the tolls on I-75/I-85?

TRACK BILLS: AJC Legislative Navigator

In the past, the state has pledged revenue from tolls to help pay for construction projects, but promised to remove the tolls when the project is paid off. One example: Ga. 400, where — after a public outcry against plans to keep the tolls — state officials removed them in 2013.

Now, Georgia uses tolls to regulate traffic, as well as pay for road projects. Under a “dynamic pricing” strategy, tolls rise as traffic increases. The idea is to limit the number of vehicles in toll lanes to keep traffic in them moving at 45 mph or more. Drivers are essentially paying for the privilege of moving faster than those in the general purpose lanes.

It’s a strategy SRTA uses on the new I-75 South Metro Express Lanes in Clayton and Henry counties and the I-85 express lanes in Gwinnett and plans to use on the Northwest Corridor in Cobb County.

SRTA Executive Director Chris Tomlinson said the agency essentially is asking legislators to “formally recognize the strategy that the whole world knows we’re already doing.”

Not everyone is sold. State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, cast the lone dissenting vote. He said the tolls should expire when a project is paid for.

“I don’t know if it’s keeping trust with the voters,” Fort said of the bill.

Senators passed an amendment to the bill that requires SRTA to report the amount of money it collects from tolls and how those dollars are used.

SB 183 also would grant SRTA the ability to extend credit or loans to private parties involved in road construction and to form nonprofit corporations to do the same. Tomlinson said that would encourage partnerships in which private companies could borrow money for public road projects at reduced rates while being responsible for repaying the debt.

He said SRTA would retain the authority to set and collect tolls on Georgia highways.

SB 183 now goes to the House of Representatives.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Atlanta inmate sentenced for committing tax fraud with smuggled phone
Atlanta inmate sentenced for committing tax fraud with smuggled phone

Two Georgia state inmates have been sentenced for committing tax fraud from prison using stolen identities.  Both prisoners instructed a tax preparer to file income tax returns with stolen names and Social Security numbers while serving sentences in the Georgia Department of Corrections, according to a news release. Enrique Toribio...
Cobb mom accused of sitting on toddler’s head has been indicted
Cobb mom accused of sitting on toddler’s head has been indicted

A Cobb County woman accused of sitting on her 2-year-old son’s head was recently indicted. The grand jury charged Susan Elizabeth Kelley of Kennesaw with first-degree child cruelty March 23. Her attorney Maddox Kilgore said Tuesday he would enter a plea of not guilty whenever Kelley has an arraignment hearing. Kilgore represented...
College Park celebrate Old National sidewalk project
College Park celebrate Old National sidewalk project

Fulton County and City of College Park officials recently attended the Old National Sidewalk Improvements Groundbreaking Ceremony for the $4.3 million project that includes five to six feet of sidewalks on both sides of Old National Highway from a bit north of Flat Shoals Road to Sullivan Road, according to the county’s “Building Fulton&rdquo...
Emerging tech businesses get tax break from Peachtree Corners
Emerging tech businesses get tax break from Peachtree Corners

The Peachtree Corners City council passed an ordinance waiving occupational tax fees, or business licenses, as they are better known, for new and emerging technology businesses. The new law provides a three-year waiver of all occupational tax fees for those who are enrolled in an incubator program in the city. The waiver does not apply if a business...
Snellville approves Hampton Inn & Suites on Pharrs Road
Snellville approves Hampton Inn & Suites on Pharrs Road

The Snellville City Council unanimously approved a five-story, 102-room Hampton Inn & Suites. The 64,400-square-foot building, with 102 parking spaces, will be built in Park Place Snellville, a new development at the corner of Pharrs Road and Scenic Highway which recently saw the grand opening of Cracker Barrel, Freddie’s, Zaxby’s and Aspen...
More Stories