The most common answer to Atlanta's traffic problems has become, not public transportation, but toll or HOT lanes. In Gwinnett County, HOV lanes requiring two or more automobile occupants were converted to HOT lanes beginning in October 2011. Vehicles with three or more occupants can use the lanes for free, but must first set up a PeachPass account for $20. All others are charged a variable rate through their PeachPass account depending on traffic.
At first the tolls were high enough to discourage drivers who stayed away in droves. The normal travel lanes were burdened with more drivers who had only one rider and could formerly use the HOV lane for free before the toll implementation. Tolls were lowered and more drivers began using the HOT lanes.
However, with increasing use the tolls,which are variable, have crept upward. According to Atlanta Business Chronicle, June 27, 2013 the toll reached an all-time high of $7.00.
Now Governor Nathan Deal has declare the HOT Lane concept to be a success and the Georgia Department of Transportation is planning more HOT lanes in the future. Money from gas taxes will be used to fund the construction. The toll lanes will be reversible, going toward Atlanta in the morning and away from the city in the evening. Tea Party members feel that this is the way government should use tax dollars.
While there was opposition to the HOT Lanes in 2012, organized opposition seems to have disappeared. The local TV stations' news reports show people who approve and disapprove, but the "fair and balanced" approach seems weighted for the HOT Lanes and resistance appears to be futile even as public hearings are being held.
I feel that this is just another sign of our two-tier society, where those with money live easier, more privileged lives, while the rest of us suffer in silence. When I Googled "ALEC and HOT Lanes" I found this:
ALEC Statement of Principles on Toll Roads - American Legislative ...
www.alec.org/model...alec-statement-of-principles-on-toll-roadsI didn't click on the link as WOT warned me away with an evil red circle, but the above seems to indicate that HOT lanes are part ALEC's agenda. This doesn't surprise me. Every day in so many ways ALEC manages to impose its will on us. What ALEC footprint did you see today?
ALEC Statement of Principles on Toll Roads. Search in Model ... Across the country, states are implementing High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. These lanes ...
Links and disclaimers below the orange thingy.
I saw a report on HOT lanes planned for Cobb and Cherokee counties for I-75 and I-575 reported on WSB-TV news at noon today, July 10, 2013, but I couldn't find a link on their website for that story.
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I include this link to the Reason Foundation website touting the wonderfulness of HOT lanes to show the propaganda effort which has brought this policy to life.
This is a link to a Wikipedia article on the Reason Foundation describing it as "an American right-Libertarian research organization."