HOT Lane Justification
The State Legislature created the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) in 2004. In April 2005, the SRTA issued a HOT Lane feasibility study for the Atlanta region. The SRTA lists the benefits of HOT lanes as:
- Enhanced transportation options travelers may experience with more reliable travel times by paying a fee for access to the managed lane(s).
- Improved efficiency of the highway network by filling available lane capacity thorough managing demand.
- Guaranteed trip reliability for transit, which benefits by using HOT lanes for free, and fits with the strategy for transit operations on regional expressways.
- Generate revenue for HOT managed lanes to provide an additional source of revenue to pay for transportation improvements.
The report reviewed possible options for free usage of HOT lanes by carpoolers (HOT+2, HOT+3, HOT+4). The report designates the I-75/I-85 corridor through downtown Atlanta as a HOT+4 for toll free usage, meaning unless a vehicle has four occupants a toll will be charged.
The SRTA report indicates:
- HOT lane implementation will likely not deteriorate general purpose (non-Lexus) lane traffic flow.
- Revenue generation is not the primary goal of HOT managed lanes. The report even analyzes the revenue generated by a HOT+2 lane ($38 Million) verses a HOT+3 lane ($53 Million).
In 2009, the US DOT, GaDOT and Atlanta Regional Commission approved conversion of I-85 HOV lanes to HOT+3 lane and conversion was begun in the Fall 2010. Gwinnett County is represented on the ARC, but had no veto right. In 2005, the SRTA conducted eight focus groups to evaluate support for the HOT conversion, during these meetings participants indicated they were only willing to pay a toll ranging from 50 cents to $2.
Since focus groups in 2005, before the economy collapsed, indicated they only supported a 50 cent to $2 toll why was the maximum toll close to $6 when the lane opened?
Nationally there are six other cities with HOT lanes, in five cities HOT+2 commuters pay no toll. The other location requires an annual “pass” that does not consider the number of passengers or frequency of use. Why did the GaDOT and SRTA choose to pursue a HOT+3 lane rather than a HOT+2 lane?
If revenue generation was not a primary goal, why did the SRTA report analyze whether a HOT+3 lane would generate more revenue than a HOT+2 lane? Why did the SRTA decided to pursue a HOT+3 lane? Since the SRTA receives toll receipts did they choose the HOT+3 option based on higher revenue?
Make your opinion count email:
Governor Nathan Deal -http://www.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,165937316_166563415,00.html#
Representative Robb Woodall - https://woodall.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
ARC Chairman Tad Leithead - email@example.com
SRTA Director Gena Evans - firstname.lastname@example.org
US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood https://ntl.custhelp.com/app/ask
Tomorrow Part 2 – Who Thinks HOT Lanes are a Good Idea?