HOT lanes hit new high Tuesday; legislator takes action

by: Linda Stouffer Updated:

The cost of driving in the 16-mile HOT lane on Interstate 85 peaked Tuesday morning at a new high: $4.70.

Some drivers are angry about that.

"That's a dollar more than the price of gas! So you're paying $4 to be stuck in traffic still when you could just drive in the regular lanes," Kimberly Young said.

But according to state numbers, more drivers are paying for the privilege of the express lane.

Revenue numbers were up in January.

According to the State Road and Tollway Authority, the average fare was only $1.26.

The cost is figured on a sliding scale, depending on how many cars are in the lanes.

The average weekday number of drivers in the HOT lane in January was up from the month before: 11,623.

SRTA said they are "encouraged" by the numbers and want to remind Georgians this is still the "ramp up" phase of the project.

However, state Sen. Curt Thompson said his constituents are furious.

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I do think the I-85 HOT lanes have been a failure. Period," Thompson said.

The Democrat told Channel 2's Linda Stouffer he is introducing a bill to the brakes on any future HOT lane-type projects in Georgia.

"I have seven bridges in my district that cross 85. You can stand on 85 at rush hour and watch it not working," Thompson said.

The bill was discussed in a Transportation committee Tuesday.

Driver Noel Sirmer expressed the frustration some people have at the fact the 85 lane was repurposed, not new construction.

"A road I got to drive down every day. Now there's a lane I can't use? I mean, whoa, more money," Sirmer said.


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