Hot Lanes Opposition Groups Form Coalition
Three organizations create StopLanes.org website to serve as a resource for opponents.
A trio of groups opposed to the use of High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes in Georgia have formed a coalition and created a website to support their common cause. Victor A. Ramkisson of Against The Peach Pass, Howard Rodgers of Stop the HOT Lane! and Chris K. Haley of Stop Peach Pass announced the debut of StolenLanes.org Thursday (Nov. 10) to solidify opposition to the use of HOT Lanes in Georgia.
“Our new website is now available as a resource to those looking to join in our fight to enact change for the current Hot Lanes
on I-85 as well as the upcoming Hot Lanes to I-75/575,” according to Ramkisson. “The website will be updated regularly with new information, including activities that we will be organizing and various things we will be working on.”
"The number of people opposed to the recent implementation of the HOT Lanes keeps growing," Ramkisson said on the website. "This is not a problem that will go away without acknowledgement of the issue and a plan to correct it by SRTA (State Roadway and Tollway Authority) and the Georgia Department of Transportation."
"The number of citizens represented by our combined coalition is a force to be reckoned with," said Rodgers on the website. “We're nearing 10 thousand total supporters with the combined support of our groups."
"Our groups are banding together to support this cause and increase our strength in numbers,” stated Haley on the website. "While some government officials try to downplay the seriousness of the impact to the community, we're stepping up to be recognized.”
The coalition called for the community to support the planned I-85 HOT Lane Town Hall meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Gwinnett Justice Center, 75 Langley Dr., in Lawrenceville.
StolenLanes.org has created a set of questions that will be sent to various state and elected officials. According to Haley, the questions represent the most popular questions asked by the public regarding the HOT lanes. These questions will be addressed at the forum prior to opening the floor to additional questions from the public. Questions include:
- What defines a success or failure of the HOT Lanes along the I-85 corridor?
- Based on the current numbers, then doubling them to 21,000 trips per day is that enough traffic to justify the lanes? If so what will the expected toll be?
- If the HOT Lanes are only meeting the expectations of an HOV Lane why was there a need for the change?
- The opening of the HOT Lanes seems to have cost more commuters than it has benefited, not just in tolls but in time lost with families, extra fuel consumption while idling in traffic, and unnecessary stress, how will that be addressed going forward?
- How has this change affected air quality around the corridor? Provide documentation including environmental impact study.
- What projects specifically are in line for the tolls collected from the area and what cities and counties will benefit from the collection of this implicit tax on North Georgia citizens?
- What are the dates initially set for the “test period” or “trial period” for the I-85 corridor?
- Is there a tax deduction for using the lanes?
- What is the expected start date for Phase II? And will Phase II begin prior to the end of Phase I demonstration project? And will Phase II convert more HOV Lanes to HOT lanes. If so which ones specifically?
- Are the current tolls being collected into an escrow account until after Phase I is considered a success? Who is responsible for the funds collected?
- Do the counties whose citizens mainly are paying the tolls get to keep a large specified percentage to improve their road congestion and decide themselves on road improvements?
- If the goal is to ease traffic congestion, why are they charging at off-peak times with no congestion on the interstate, i.e., 2 a.m. in the morning with maybe 10 cars total in sight?
- What are the current breakdown numbers for Peach Pass users and the breakdown of the Peach Passes that were issued? How many for motorcycles, three-passenger vehicles, and how many are being used on GA 400 vs. I-85?