• Controversial toll policy reversed

    By: Carl Willis


    ATLANTA - Drivers may once again pay the GA-400 toll for the driver behind them.

    The practice, which is referred to as paying it forward, was banned July 26 and reversed Friday.

    The State Road and Tollway Authority received many complaints on the ban.

    "I think it's a personal choice and nobody should intercede on that or stop somebody from doing it," said driver Modesty Palmer.

    The governor's office reached out to SRTA after the issue made it to the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    State Sen. John Albers said he called SRTA leaders.

    "Honestly, I was livid," said Albers, (R) District 56. "Surely, in Georgia where we live in southern hospitality, on the 'Hospitality Highway' we would want to make sure that random acts of kindness and paying it forward would continue."

    Bert Brantley, the SRTA deputy executive director said the discussion to reverse the policy started weeks ago.

    "I wish we would have just come to this morning's decision before it kind of blew up, but at the same time I will never apologize for looking after our cashiers," said Brantley.

    Brantley said the policy was put in place after frequent complaints started coming in from the good Samaritans who were leaving money to pay it forward. He said those drivers accused the cashiers of stealing the change.

    "They wouldn't see visual evidence in their minds that our cashiers had actually done that, so they were accusing our cashiers of stealing the $.50," said Brantley. "It was causing us to have to review the tapes and do an investigation."

    A review showed that it wasn't theft, but the next driver paying their own toll and telling the cashier to pay it forward again to the next driver.

    "It's happening a lot more now because the tolls are coming down," said Brantley. "People come through there happier and more willing to pay for the guy behind them."

    With less than 100 days left before the tolls go away forever, drivers are clear to pay it forward as much as they like.

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