Roswell resident Garland Favorito stood outside First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs on Tuesday, seeking signatures for a “Resolution to Stop Theft of Funds from Georgia 400 Residents.”
Favorito joined dozens of local residents at the church on Tuesday during the third and last of the Georgia Department of Transportation's public input meetings seeking feedback on the Ga. 400 Express Lanes Feasibility Study.
Alpharetta resident, Jim Allison said he's not a fan of toll lanes, but he would welcome a free-flowing commute from his home to work in Sandy Springs.
“I get on at Mansell and get off at Abernathy,” he said. “I could get on at Windward Parkway but the more I can avoid Ga. 400, the better it is.”
The tolled express lanes would run 24 miles on Ga. 400 between I-285 and State Route 20 in Forsyth County. Similar to the express lanes on I-85, the toll for entering the express lanes would increase as congestion in the regular lanes increase.
“You don’t stop to pay the toll,” said Mark McKinnon, GDOT spokesperson. “You would charge up your Peach Pass and it would charge you as you go.
Under the feasibility study concept, additional lanes would be built. Existing lanes would not become express lanes.
McKinnon said the toll is necessary to pay for the project, which currently has no funding for construction.
“Most people are a little leery when they hear the word toll. Most of them think we are taking away a lane when we say toll. That’s not the case. We’re trying to figure out something to relieve congestion,” McKinnon added.
Tuesday’s meeting included informational maps and GDOT officials to answer questions. It followed public input sessions held earlier this month in Roswell and Cumming.
Allison and others complain that tolls remain when projects are paid for. “They never removed the toll they already have so that doesn’t make me feel like I want to have more toll,” he said.
The GDOT feasibility study period for the express lanes runs through June. Public comment ends on March 30. Comments can be emailed to ManagedLaneinfo@dot.ga.gov; or mailed to Glenn Bowman, P.E., State Environment Administrator, Georgia Department of Transportation, One Georgia Center, 600 West Peachtree NW, Atlanta, Ga 30308. You can also call a hotline at 404-347-0185.