I assume there is a legitimate explanation to this HOT Lanes business

October 25, 2011 21:34 pm

by Erick · 58 comments

Either there is a legitimate explanation or there is a scandal.

Jannine Miller is the Executive Director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.

According to her biography, “Miller coordinated Georgia’s multi-agency proposal to U.S. Department of Transportation for an Urban Partnership Agreement, which led to a $110 million grant award to implement a HOT lanes demonstration project on I-85, one of metro Atlanta’s most congested interstate highways.”

What her biography does not mention, is that Ms. Miller is the patent applicant (and if approved, the holder of the patents) for both patented technologies used in the HOT lanes.

The first is the credit billing system.

The second is the electronic barrier technology to ticket violators.

Now, there is more likely than not a legitimate explanation for all of this, but it raises a real question too — did the Executive Director of GRTA push for a system she stands to profit from due to patent royalties?

UPDATE: The answer is that these folks assigned their claims to GRTA as employees of GRTA so they won’t profit. The additional questions though are (1) is their assignment in total or just for Georgia so if this rolls out elsewhere they stand to make money and (2) does GRTA stand to make money off a roll out in other states and (3) did we roll out HOT lanes so GRTA or some individual(s) could make some money off the patents later?

This news could very well destroy the regional SPLOST for metro-Atlanta.

GTKay October 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Oh good grief. So when you called Ms. Miller (not Millier) to ask for this legitimate explanation before throwing out a shameful chunk of red meat to an already angry, conspiracy hungry crowd, what did she say? Just curious…

GTKay October 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Post UPDATE: Again, there are actual people who have answers to these savvy questions (especially #3) I would suggest that a more efficient way to obtain these answers – that is if you really want answers – is to call, email, or text the people who would know.

And what could more likely destroy the regional SPLOST for metro-Atlanta are arrogant agitators postulating scandal without any basis other than their Google results.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 1:39 am

There was no need for anyone to call Ms. Miller as, by most media accounts, she was going around openly bragging and taking credit for coming up with the technology used in the I-85 HOT lanes when the lanes came online….That is, until the extent of public anger and outrage over the longer traffic jams the implementation of the lanes created were fully realized. Since then, Jannine Miller hasn’t been seen or heard from in public.

I hope that Ms. Miller doesn’t live anywhere near I-85 in Gwinnett because if she does she might have to take up residence in the Witless Protection Program to take refuge from all of the angry residents of that county whose rush hour commutes have more than doubled since the HOT lanes went into effect.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 1:40 am

Sorry, I meant *Witness* Protection Program. Honest mistake, sorry.

GTKay October 26, 2011 at 7:15 am

No, I would not expect you to be someone who would want to get both sides of any story.

But I would expect Erick to be a little more ethical and a little less gossipy. I just had a conversation with my pre-teen daughter about the virtue of going to the person you have issues with instead of bad mouthing them to her friends. She seemed to get it.

And there you go again with the fixation on the anger. Do YOU actually drive on I-85?

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

“No, I would not expect you to be someone who would want to get both sides of any story…..But I would expect Erick to be a little more ethical and a little less gossipy. I just had a conversation with my pre-teen daughter about the virtue of going to the person you have issues with instead of bad mouthing them to her friends. She seemed to get it.”

There’s not much of “another side” of the story to get right now as Ms. Miller seems to have disappeared completely out of the public eye as the ANGER and outrage over the massive traffic jams on I-85 the implementation of the HOT lanes has created has continues to mount.

Aside from the two bureaucratic puppets from GDOT and SRTA that surprisingly showed up to the GOP Town Hall Meeting in Buford on Monday Night and appeared to be shocked at the amount of anger and outrage at the state over the increased gridlock the HOT lanes have created, no one from SRTA has made much of an effort to make themselves available to the media since the week the lanes came online, especially after SRTA Director Gena Evans snarky response to a question about the lanes aggravated the situation and resulted in an even greater flood of very angry calls to SRTA offices.

Because the HOT lanes on I-85 have been so negatively received by commuters who have to use that road, ALOT of people are understandably asking ALOT of questions about how such an unpopular project came about and since Jannine Miller has seemingly made herself unavailable to explain her side of the story, Erick only has what was already known to go by which is that Ms. Miller, who was openly and proudly taking credit for these lanes before and just after they first opened, is the patent applicant for both patented technologies used in the HOT lanes and looks to make a profit if her application is approved and the technology is used elsewhere.

Yes, I do drive on I-85 and every other major highway in the Atlanta Region as my job takes me all over North Georgia and have been stuck in traffic on every major freeway that goes into and out of the city from every direction (I-20, I-75, I-85, I-285, I-575, I-985, Hwy 400, Hwy 316, Hwy 78/Stone Mtn Frwy & Hwy in Gwinnett & DeKalb, Hwy 278-6, Hwy 19-41 in Cobb County, Hwy 41 in Cobb, etc) during morning and evening rush hours, during the middle of the day and even at midnight on the Downtown Connector.

I-85 through Gwinnett wasn’t exactly lightin’ it up before the HOT lanes came online and since the lanes went into effect the road has been a total NIGHTMARE with many drivers’ commute times more than doubling.

“And there you go again with the fixation on the anger.”

If you think I’m angry, just wait until the next election in Gwinnett and you will see some real anger, especially if the HOT lane “experiment” is still effect and voters are still sitting in manufactured traffic jams of Biblical proportions staring at empty tolled carpool lanes when the regional T-SPLOST comes up for a vote in 2012 and Governor Nathan Deal runs for re-election in 2012 (remember, Nathan Deal received more votes in Gwinnett than he did in any other county in the state in the 2010 Primaries and General Election).

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

Sorry, I meant when Governor Nathan Deal runs for re-election in 2014.

Harry October 26, 2011 at 9:14 am

When there were questions raised about the timing and propriety of Nathan Deal’s departure from Congress, he promised certain members of the legislature that he would only be a one-term governor.

GTKay October 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

“Jannine Miller has seemingly made herself unavailable to explain her side of the story, Erick only has what was already known to go by” – Poor, helpless thing.

I’m sure Ms. Miller is in her office each day even if she’s not on the interview circuit. Lame excuse. Pick up the phone.

And the “puppets” were at the meeting because they were invited. They could have declined, but they came willingly even though they knew there would be angry citizens.

22bons October 25, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I understand the frustration with HOT lanes, but this is an issue that is going to require patience and leadership.

The best solution for increasing capacity on Atlanta’s congested freeways is to bring home the federal gas tax dollars that are collected in Georgia but spent elsewhere. Rob Woodall, and every other Congressional Representative in our delegation needs to get behind Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) Highway Fairness and Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 632) and/or Scott Garrett’s (R–NJ) Surface Transportation and Taxation Equity Act (H.R. 3595). Either that or come up with a better bill and pass it pronto.

That said, increasing capacity is not a long term solution to the problem of congestion. Induced demand (build it and more people will arrive to drive) is an empirical fact. Therefore some type of demand management will be necessary to provide longer term relief from congestion.

http://www.rff.org/Publications/WPC/Pages/The-Fundamental-Law-of-Road-Congestion-and-Its-Implications-for-Transportation-Policy.aspx

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 1:15 am

“I understand the frustration with HOT lanes, but this is an issue that is going to require patience and leadership.”

The patience is GONE with motorists on I-85 through DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties as most of them have seen their rush-hour commutes more than double since the HOT lanes came online at the beginning of the month.

And the leadership clearly isn’t there if that leadership’s idea of relieving congestion is to intentionally make it worse in a very populous county whose votes often decide statewide elections.

Todd Rehm October 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm

To me the bigger question is whether we want an agency to be literally inventing ways to expand its jurisdiction from only GA-400 to other non-tolled roadways through creative technology and financing schemes without legislative oversight?

If the toll-road system is to be expanded in Georgia, I believe that the legislature should make that determination, not a state agency that has also lobbied to retain the toll on 400 in order to give itself the money to further expand the toll-road system.

This may be a government agency taking initiative that should be the sole province of the legislature.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 1:51 am

With the increasing outrage over the state’s misguided and disasterous rollout of HOT lanes on I-85, this is probably not the best time to talk about expanding toll roads in Georgia, especially in Gwinnett as most voters there are very HOT under the collar over the increased gridlock and longer traffic jams since the lanes came online.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 12:55 am

“Now, there is more likely than not a legitimate explanation for all of this, but it raises a real question too — did the Executive Director of GRTA push for a system she stands to profit from due to patent royalties?”

Uh, yeah.

“This news could very well destroy the regional SPLOST for metro-Atlanta.”

Consider it already done as residents in Gwinnett, the state’s second-largest county, are loathe to support the upcoming T-SPLOST referendum as they think that the much bigger traffic jams and dramatically-increased commutes they’re PERSONALLY experiencing on I-85 in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties are what they’re going to be paying higher taxes for.

GTKay October 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

It’s my understanding that the HOT lanes were set in motion way before Miller was at GRTA, and that they were given the go-ahead by Gena Evans when she was at DOT.

And people can view the list of projects that the Atlanta region TSPLOST will fund anytime between now and the vote. There’s no excuse for ignorance on that issue.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 8:33 am

I don’t know when Ms. Miller joined SRTA, but I do know that the state was awarded the $110 million grant to convert the lanes by the Feds in November 2008.

“And people can view the list of projects that the Atlanta region TSPLOST will fund anytime between now and the vote. There’s no excuse for ignorance on that issue.”

I don’t think that voters in Gwinnett are looking to view the TSPLOST list on its merits, but rather are looking to send a loud and resounding message to thoughtless government politicians and a seemingly deaf bureaucracy after a series bad decisions and unethical dealings that have nearly bankrupted county government and now has doubled their commute times.

In Gwinnett County in particular, there was already much disillusionment with the county government over a series of increasingly shady land deals and questionable decisions made by those close and around a county Board of Commissioners that has historically been run and controlled exclusively by land spectulators and real estate developers (kickbacks on swamp land on school district purchases, needless baseball stadium, garbage mess, etc) and the HOT lane debacle looks to be the straw that has finally broken the camel’s back.

Most Gwinnettians look to have had enough as the HOT lanes look to be nothing but a glamourized way to stick-up motorists looking to get out of traffic jams manufactured by the state so that they can extort money from commuters.

Rick Day October 26, 2011 at 7:12 am

I blame the hippies.

Calypso October 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

Always a safe fall-back position. Can’t go wrong.

Quaker October 26, 2011 at 8:33 am

The Gwinnett HOT lanes are just the prelude. The big $$ is in the HOT lane construction in the northside, which is the reason for the panic at the goat rope in Gwinnett and Nathan’s quick (temporary) reduction of the price. And guess who’s shilling for a certain Spanish company in the bidding for that construction – a certain ex gov.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

Yep. The state plans to build a network of HOT lanes all over the Atlanta Region to the tune of $16 BILLION. Their biggest mistake was taking away a heavily used lane of traffic by putting tolls on the existing HOV lane and ending free two-person carpools instead of adding new HOT lanes to the road. It was also a big mistake to create longer traffic jams on a very busy major highway in a politically-crucial county where the public anger with government was already running high over a continuing series of unethical decisions.

ted in bed October 26, 2011 at 9:54 am

They ignored many rules of Traffic Engineering. The congestion nightmare that has ensued was entirely predictable. Based on the monetary incentive for congestion, I would not be surprised if the HOT lane people designed it this way … more congestion in free lanes, more money for the HOT lanes.

22bons October 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

Respectfully, there are now many HOT lanes now in operation around the country and the evidence from those installations is not on the side of the commuters in Gwinnett who are sharpening the tines on their pitchforks. Appropriately implemented HOT lanes will improve flow in both the HOV/Toll lane and in the remaining lanes.

http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/13668_files/chapter_7.htm

I believe much of the anger being expressed is a temporary function of implementation that will fade over time. This is not a novel concept and it does work when appropriately implemented. Increasing the number of commuters with a peach pass, and appropriately pricing the HOT lane, are crucial to success.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm

“Appropriately implemented HOT lanes will improve flow in both the HOV/Toll lane and in the remaining lanes.”

Yes, APPROPRIATELY implemented HOT lanes can help improve flow on the roadway. The tolled express lanes on I-85 are NOT an example of appropriately implemented HOT lanes because they have basically taken away a lane of traffic on what was already one of the busiest roads on the continent.

The lanes also have too few entrance and exit points and forces those few motorists who use the lane to have to cross five or six lanes of what is often almost total, if not, total gridlock sometimes forcing cars who have to exit to come to slow down to dangerously low speeds to try and find an opening in exceptionally heavy traffic to do so.

“Respectfully, there are now many HOT lanes now in operation around the country and the evidence from those installations is not on the side of the commuters in Gwinnett who are sharpening the tines on their pitchforks.”

You forgot to mention the torches that Gwinnett commuters are lighting up to go with their pitchforks. Also, the HOT lanes in other places around the country that you mention may not have necessarily been implemented in an area that is as politically-sensitive as Gwinnett County with the recent series of scandals in county government there and the generally prevailing overall libertarian anti-government sentiment that is even more present in Georgia than in most other states. Combine that overall general unhappiness with government with the fact that the bungled implementation of the lanes has made traffic much worse than before after a long period of overall inaction and no leadership at the state government level on growing traffic congestion in the I-85 Northeast Corridor and intense anger and outrage is the result.

Buzz Brockway October 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm

LDIG,

As they mentioned at our Town Hall meeting Monday, GDOT and SRTA studied several (4, if I recall correctly) successful HOV to HOT lane conversions. What we’re doing here has worked elsewhere.

I think they need to greatly increase the number of access points, keep the toll low and work like heck to get the waiver from the Feds to allow folks with 2 passengers to use the HOT lane at no charge. Other States were granted such a waiver and we should be too.

When we get the waiver, everyone who could legally drive in the HOV lane will be able to drive in the HOT lane at no charge. Those we are willing to pay a toll to get home faster can.

I don’t think it’s fair to judge this a failure when it’s been operational less than a month.

22bons October 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Buzz: Exactly. Patience and leadership. Entrance and exit points do need to be improved and I’m sure they will be.

TLDIG: A lane was not “taken away”. The rules as to who can use that lane and at what cost have changed, but the lane is still there. It’s not free for low occupancy vehicles, and frankly, it should never have been “free”. There is a cost to congestion, there is a cost to congestion relief, and commuters are the appropriate party to charge for that cost.

Todd Rehm October 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

“There is a cost to congestion, there is a cost to congestion relief, and commuters are the appropriate party to charge for that cost.”

+1 for the best statement I’ve read on the subject.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm

A lane WAS taken away from free two-person carpools.

Two-person carpools made up the overwhelming majority of carpools in the free HOV lanes on I-85. With the free two-person carpools no longer allowed in the carpool lanes, many of those who used to ride in a two-person carpools now seem to be driving alone contributing to the increased gridlock in the general purpose lanes.

“There is a cost to congestion, there is a cost to congestion relief, and commuters are the appropriate party to charge for that cost.”

I agree, but charging tolls on existing lanes was already a very UNpopular idea, an idea that has been made even more wildly unpopular with the bungled implementation of these lanes on I-85.

A more appropriate (and effective) way to charge commuters on I-85 for congestion relief would have been to have built at least a couple of new HOT lanes in the right-of-way by either widening I-85 and placing the new lanes in the median of the road or building a set of reversible lanes elevated over the median of the road. Would have been much more expensive, but ALOT more effective at helping to improve traffic flow and relieve congestion on I-85.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

High-frequency commuter rail service between Atlanta and Gainesville on the Norfolk Southern/Amtrak line that parallels Interstates 85 and 985 through Western Gwinnett and also between Atlanta and Athens on the CSX line that is already tabbed to be the future site of the “Brain Train” and parallels Highways 29-8 & 316 through Central Gwinnett would’ve also been a more appropriate and effective way to charge commuters for congestion relief than this poorly thought-out and poorly executed debacle.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm

“I think they need to greatly increase the number of access points, keep the toll low and work like heck to get the waiver from the Feds to allow folks with 2 passengers to use the HOT lane at no charge. Other States were granted such a waiver and we should be too.”

I agree. Getting the waiver to allow two-person carpools back in the lane is especially key to correcting this debacle as this traffic mess has already gone on way too long for the better part of a month.

Although, from what I’ve been hearing, I don’t think that the Feds are necessarily too keen on granting a waiver to allow two-person carpools back in the lanes, not because of the conditions that the State of Georgia originally agreed to to get the funding to convert the lanes, but because of pure politics.

The Obama Administration, which now controls the U.S. Department of Transportation that granted Georgia the $110 million grant to implement the HOT lanes when it was controlled by the Bush Administration, is keenly aware of the increased pressure and public outrage that politicians are facing in a suburban area dominated by Republicans in Gwinnett and Northeast Georgia and therefore are not that likely to be in all that much of a hurry to grant a waiver to allow two-person carpools back in the HOT lanes and relieve increasingly uncomfortable political pressure from Georgia Republicans.

The Obama Administration is likely to let this thing drag out as long as possible to see if this growing public outrage in a Republican-dominated area can be used to the advantage of the Democrats.

In other words, the Obama Administration is not likely to step in anytime soon and keep Georgia Republicans from shooting themselves in the foot by giving them a quick way off of a political hotseat that was of their own making.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

“I believe much of the anger being expressed is a temporary function of implementation that will fade over time.”

As long as the massive traffic jams, dramatically longer commutes and increased gridlock continues to plague motorists on I-85 the intense anger expressed will not only continue, but will increase.

“This is not a novel concept and it does work when appropriately implemented.

But these lanes on I-85 were NOT appropriately implemented with new lanes added to the right-of-way with their own exits and entrances as they should been instead of being done on the cheap and taking away a lane of traffic.

“Increasing the number of commuters with a peach pass, and appropriately pricing the HOT lane, are crucial to success.”

I agree, it’s just that the problem is that many motorists are very unhappy that they’re being charged to use a lane that has already been paid for with their taxes and that they used to be able to use for free with only one passenger in their car. Most motorists feel that state government is attempting to extort money from them in order to let them out of a problem that government itself artificially created to make money. Most I-85 motorists are so angry about it that they’re talking of permanently boycotting the lanes and getting a pound of flesh in the form of voting down the TSPLOST and voting local, regional and state politicians who they perceive to have contributed to their dramatically longer commutes out-of-office in their next election. There’s even talk of motorists getting together in Gwinnett to form a class-action lawsuit to attempt to get the lanes discontinued.

The anger in the I-85 Northeast Corridor is exceptionally intense as many people, especially in scandal-ridden Gwinnett, feel as if they’ve had enough with unresponsive government that only seems to unnecessarily create problems and make things worse. Any politician that ignores or underestimates this increasing negative voter sentiment in a politically-critical GOP stronghold does so at their own peril.

If the free two-person carpools are not allowed to return to the HOV lane to help the massive congestion that the implementation of the HOT lanes created and the state continues to push for a $16 billion network of HOT lanes across the region, starting with a $1 billion set of HOT lanes on Interstates 75 & 575 in even more conservative and libertarian-dominated Cobb and Cherokee Counties, then the HOT lane debacle on I-85 has the potential to turn into the GOP establishment’s “Northern Arc” political moment that the Democrats experienced back in 2002. Only this time, it won’t be Democrats that benefit from public anger, but it will likely be the Tea Party and Libertarian-affiliated factions of the GOP that benefits politically from the fallout.

David Staples October 27, 2011 at 9:01 am

“There’s even talk of motorists getting together in Gwinnett to form a class-action lawsuit to attempt to get the lanes discontinued.”

Perhaps there should be some talk of motorists getting together in Gwinnett to form a car-pool to be able to use the lanes for free. ;-)

“it will likely be the Tea Party and Libertarian-affiliated factions of the GOP that benefits politically from the fallout”

I’m not a tea partier, but I’m good with the Libertarian factions of the GOP benefiting from all of this. :-)

Calypso October 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

“I’m not a tea partier, but I’m good with the Libertarian factions of the GOP benefiting from all of this. ”

I see you want your cake and eat it, too.

David Staples October 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

If I’m gonna have cake, I’m gonna eat it. Otherwise, what’s the point of having cake?

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Good point.

GTKay October 26, 2011 at 11:00 am

So, let me get this straight. You really believe that someone specifically designed a system to create more congestion on an already congested road to force people into the HOT lanes in order to generate revenue. Their intent was to increase commute times. The traffic engineers, planners, GRTA, SRTA, many of whom live up I-85, together conspired to make a bad situation even worse. That they are right now sitting back in their chairs, feet on their desks, congratulating themselves on their crafty system to intentionally gum up the works.

Calypso October 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

I think you summed up the beliefs of most folks quite accurately, GTKay.

GTKay October 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

Unbelievable. And discouraging that people are that jaded and frankly, ignorant.

Harry October 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

We don’t trust you.

22bons October 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Understandable. But do some research on how to relieve congestion and you will see that we are on the right path even if the implementation has been less than perfect.

Rambler1414 October 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

Don’t you know, Kay? Over half of the people Metro area are qualified traffic engineers. These are the same people that think “synchronizing the traffic signals” will magically make all the congestion go away.

saltycracker October 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

GTK,

We expect them to perform their job with clean hands.

GTKay October 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Agreed, I do too. And I believe most do. But with so much conjecture floating around the place, voters need to do their own research. Throwing out the baby(TSPLOST) with the bathwater(any gripe they have with any state entity) is irresponsible and shows a lack of understanding of how critical a point we’re at.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

But most people don’t think of the big picture, as the biggest picture that most people consider is how they’ve been personally affected by the economy and bad decisions that their government has made (most people only become aware of the government’s performance when something goes wrong).

In Gwinnett, in particular, people only know that their local government has been involved in a series of shady land deals, scandals and very questionable decisions and that their property taxes have gone up while their paychecks have decreased or even in some cases disappeared altogether and now their commutes have doubled while the HOV lane, which now has a toll attached to it, sits empty for the most part.

And they just know that the regional TSPLOST is the next nearest big opportunity to give seemingly unsympathetic politicians a big piece of their minds.

GTKay October 27, 2011 at 7:10 am

You’re making my point for me. Bannister and Kennerly have nothing to do with HOT lanes and all three have no bearing on the TSPLOST list. And it doesn’t hurt a single poloitician to vote against the sales tax. It affects the citizens in each county. I have teenagers who can’t see the future past their nose. But I expect more out of productive adults. Frustration is no excuse for ignorance. People need to get informed.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 27, 2011 at 8:46 am

But most people often don’t distinguish between different levels of government as they are not public policy wonks, they just know that the HOT lanes are the latest in a long line of really bad GOVERNMENT decisions that have had costly consequences for them personally.

No matter what the level, county, state or federal, anti-government sentiment is already very much understandably running at an all-time high, particularly in Gwinnett where the county government has been actively involved in driving that negative sentiment and the HOT lane debacle that has significantly lengthened their commutes has only served to prove to them why Big Brother GOVERNMENT yet again can’t be trusted with their hard-earned money.

GTKay October 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

Well I have a lot more confidence in the intelligence of the people than you must. You have to be a policy wonk to understand the difference between a federal highway program and widening Panola Road?

And I noticed that after Buzz published actual data (gotta love those engineers) your “doubled” commute times became “significantly lengthened.”

Just sayin’

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

Hey, you can defend these lanes to the hilt all you want, but the fact remains that these lanes are extremely unpopular, seem to be growing less popular with the public by the day (what’s 9,000 cars using the lanes compared to the other 200,000 in the general purpose lanes each day?) and look to have struck a deep nerve (and not a good one) with the public.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 27, 2011 at 10:31 am

GTKay October 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

“And I noticed that after Buzz published actual data (gotta love those engineers) your “doubled” commute times became “significantly lengthened.””

Speaking of commute times in the general purpose lanes doubling, here’s a link to an article in today’s AJC about the dramatic difference in commute times for a couple who carpooled in the HOT lane and a driver who commuted in the general purpose lanes alone:

http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/hot-lane-unhappiness-some-1208710.html

Some excepts from the article:

“Black, who had gotten to the first HOT lane entrance a half-hour before them, reached the lane’s end at nearly the same time. It had taken her 56 minutes to travel the length of the HOT lanes, more than double the 25 minutes the Daubes spent covering the same stretch.”

“8:40: Dan Daube dropped off Brenda at Peachtree and 14th Streets and headed to his office a few blocks away. The drive really hadn’t changed a bit from the old HOV-lane days.”

“9:00: Black reached her office at Colony Square, a stone’s throw from Brenda Daube’s office. Her commute had consumed nearly two hours — twice as long as the Daubes.”

“It was a bad day for Black, probably made worse by the rain. But it wasn’t her longest commute since the HOT lanes were introduced, she said. Some days, the drive has taken upward of two hours and 20 minutes.”

“Black’s verdict: “It’s bad every day. It’s varying degrees of bad.””

“The Daubes’ verdict: Dan calls the HOT lanes an attempt to fix something that wasn’t broken. For him, he said, the only difference is, “I’m paying for something that was free a month ago.””

saltycracker October 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Who was Ms. Miller working for when she came up with the ideas & patent application ?
How does the state handle employee work related patents ?

Why would the State appoint someone and that person accept a public position that might financially benefit on the side ?
At least college professors sell their expensive text books to students not to the college.

We need a little run of nothing questionable in performing public duties.

blakeage80 October 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

To whom is Janine Miller related? Perhaps someone in the Governor’s administration? This is a ‘good ole boy’ state so this is a fair question.

Harry October 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm
GTKay October 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm
saltycracker October 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

From my perspective there are a lot of unanswered questions (see above) as the public servants in GA. have not had a sound track record for the taxpayers. Questions are in order as hot lanes are a controversial direction.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm

“From my perspective there are a lot of unanswered questions (see above) as the public servants in GA. have not had a sound track record for the taxpayers.”

You mean like when GDOT lost $430 million in a filing cabinet?

“Questions are in order as hot lanes are a controversial direction.”

Controversial and WILDLY unpopular.

GTKay October 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

You must get royalties every time you use that word.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I do actually (Is it that obvious?). The only problem is that the royalties don’t do me any good as they’re paid in the form of invisible money, but if I had an actual dollar for every time that I had to use that word…

GTKay October 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

You could afford to move to Texas and drive around all day long on their expensive elevated HOT lanes that you love so much…

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

But it wouldn’t necessarily be very challenging to live in Texas as no one has to be convinced to invest in transportation (or water, or education, or telecommunications, or power, etc) infrastructure there.

Although, while warmly embraced in Dallas, mass transit investment is almost a TOTALLY foreign concept in Houston which is the ULTIMATE car-crazed town that puts Atlanta and even L.A. to SHAME (see the I-10 Katy Freeway in West Houston which is as wide as 26 lanes!).

I wouldn’t necessarily like the MUCH hotter weather, the flatter terrain or the different political climate there and I would especially miss the towering trees that carpet the hills of North Georgia, the very close promixity to the heavenly Southern Appalachians, being in a place that is constantly being invaded by Northeasterners and Midwesterners, SEC and ACC college sports, the always-entertaining, intensely-intriguing, never-a-dull-moment theatrical antics of our highly-esteemed local and state governments and, most of all, begging and pleading with my fellow Georgians on why we need to invest heavily (to the max) in ALL of our infrastructure.

Sorry, Kay, but I just can’t get any of this stuff in Texas (though, I’m not gonna lie, I do like their fancy roads, but still…)

Comments on this entry are closed.