Latest HOT Lane Data

Here’s the updated HOT lane spreadsheet – data taken from SRTA press releases.

27 comments

  1. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    Oooh, more HOT lanes! Did I mention that T-SPLOST makes a great dipping sauce for HOT lanes? YUM!

    • Rambler1414 says:

      Please don’t confuse the two issues.

      There are NO managed lane projects on the T-SPLOST project list.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        There are no managed lane projects on the T-SPLOST list, but the talk is that the state is (somewhat) quietly planning to raid Cobb County’s T-SPLOST revenues to help pay the $1.2 billion cost of constructing new HOT lanes on Interstates 75 & 575, hence the $110 million for “premium bus service” on I-75 that was diverted from the $856.5 million proposed “light rail” line between Midtown and Cumberland Mall.

        There’s also nothing in the law that says that funds cannot be diverted from projects on the list to other projects not on the list after (and if) the T-SPLOST is approved by voters.

          • GTKay says:

            LDiG prefers talk and perception, not to mention quotation marks and Caps Lock, to facts. I prefer reality, and the reality is that what is on the list is what will be built with the revenue raised by the tax. No diverting. No nefariously quiet planning. Just a good old fashioned, straight forward, what you see is what you’ll get project list. The bill is clear and makes for good reading for those who like to know what they’re talking about. And the 75/575 project, which is not on the TSLPOST list, is a public-private partnership – totally separate funding.

            LDiG, you really need a hobby. Knitting is good – keeps your hands busy.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              “I prefer reality, and the reality is that what is on the list is what will be built with the revenue raised by the tax. No diverting. No nefariously quiet planning. Just a good old fashioned, straight forward, what you see is what you’ll get project list. The bill is clear and makes for good reading for those who like to know what they’re talking about.”

              Sure, because government would NEVER divert revenues from one program to something else (the Feds have never left any I.O.U.s in the Social Security trust fund and the state has never diverted one percent of gas tax revenues collected from road maintenance and construction into the general fund, etc), government never has and would never dream of conducting a “bait-and-switch” (just when was that toll on Georgia 400 supposed to end again?) and everything on the T-SPLOST list is clearly defined and straight-forward just like you say, like the $40 million for “Gwinnett County Bus Services” (which obviously means Gwinnett County Transit or GRTA, even though it doesn’t say specifically which agency that means), $95 million for an “I-85 North Transit Corridor” and the $689 million for very detailed and very specific “enhanced premium bus service” in Cobb County.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              “LDiG, you really need a hobby. Knitting is good – keeps your hands busy.”

              You’re right, I need something to do while stuck parked in rush hour traffic on I-85…

              • GTKay says:

                I wouldn’t recommend that at average speeds of 42 and 36 miles an hour…

                There are Project Fact (I know that word makes you nervous) Sheets on each project on the TSPLOST list.

                http://www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com/documents/final_report.pdf

                Gwinnett County bus Service is on page 158
                I-85 North Transit Corrider is on page 145
                Enhanced Premium Transit Service (Cobb Co.) is on page 82

                Now I can’t keep doing your homework for you, I’ve got to finish my Christmas shopping.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            Buzz, thanks for posting a link to the text of the bill. I read through the entire text of the bill and found language restricting the use of funds collected in one special district (T-SPLOST region) from being in another, etc.

            This excerpt from the text of the bill (Section 48-8-249, subsection a) may be the closest thing that I can find that could be construed as restricting the proceeds collected from the T-SPLOST from being spent on projects other than those on the list:

            48-8-249.
            777 (a) The proceeds received from the tax authorized by this article shall be used within the
            778 special district receiving proceeds of the tax exclusively for the projects on the approved
            779 investment list for such district as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 48-8-243.

            This section may seemingly restrict the use of T-SPLOST funds to the projects, but I found nothing in the text of the list that explicitly restricted the revenues from the tax from being spent on other transportation projects within the special district (region).

            Buzz Brockway November 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm

            “Here’s the text of the bill LDIG. Can you point to us where it says funds can be diverted to other projects not approved by the voters? I couldn’t find it.”

            I couldn’t find anything in the bill that says funds can be diverted to other projects, either.

            But as we all know, laws are about wording and outside of the excerpt of the text that I posted above, I could not find any wording that explicitly restricts or prevents funds from being shifted to other mass transit or road projects off of the list, unless of course, the wording above can be construed as explicitly restricting use of the proceeds collected from the tax to the projects on the list.

            Also, some of the wording on the list is somewhat vague, like the $689 million in TIA (T-SPLOST funds) from Cobb committed to “enhanced premium bus service” from Acworth/Kennesaw/Town Center Mall to the MARTA Arts Center Station (Project ID TIA‐CO‐035 on the list). This is widely assumed to be the remainder of the project that was originally proposed to be a $856.5 million light rail line between MARTA Arts Center Station and Cumberland Mall early on in the project selection process, but there is nothing in the project ID on its face that explicitly outlines what roadway or corridor this particular project will be constructed in.

            Also concerning is this excerpt from the text of the bill in Section 7, Code Section 50-32-5, subsection f that reads:

            The Atlanta Regional Commission in conjunction with the Georgia Regional
            1000 Transportation Authority and the department’s director of planning shall utilize federal and
            1001 state planning funds to continue the development of the Atlanta region’s Concept 3 transit
            1002 proposal, including assessment of potential economic benefit to the region and the state,
            1003 prioritization of corridors based on highest potential economic benefit and lowest
            1004 environmental impact, and completion of environmental permitting.

            Just what exactly constitutes the state planning funds to be utilized to continue the development of the Atlanta Region’s Concept 3 transit proposal referenced in the above section? Do state planning funds mean funds collected from the regional T-SPLOSTs approved by voters throughout the state? Does the state’s definition of transit proposals to be funded by state planning funds explicitly NOT cover HOT lanes since that is what many buses, existing and future, will utilize to provide service, especially in the I-75 Northwest and I-85 Northeast Corridors?

            Also concerning is the $40 million for the somewhat vague and inexact proposals for “Gwinnett County Bus Services” (project ID TIA‐GW‐073) that does not specify whether the funding is explicitly designated for Gwinnett County Transit buses and the $95 million for an equally vague and not clearly defined proposal for all phases of an “I-85 North Transit Corridor”. Neither of the funding allocations for the two projects in Gwinnett or the project in Cobb that I mentioned are explicitly NOT designated to go towards paying for constructing the HOT lanes that future buses funded with T-SPLOST funds may run in.

            The lack of wording in the text of the bill that explicitly restricts and prevents funds from being shifted to projects not on the list up for review and possible approval by voters along with some not exact and vaguely worded projects on the list seem to leave a lot of wiggle room for funds to be shifted which makes it difficult to proclaim absolutely, beyond a doubt, that T-SPLOST revenues will not end up possibly funding future HOT lane projects.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            Speaking of projects on the T-SPLOST list not always being clearly defined, here’s a link to an article in the Marietta Daily Journal about the Cobb County state legislative delegation’s befuddlement and frustration with some not-so-quite specific projects selected by the Atlanta Regional Roundtable’s for Cobb’s revenues to fund.

            (http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/16445053/article-Lawmakers-befuddled-by-Lee%E2%80%99s-list-for-TSPLOST?instance=home_news_bullets)

            Some key excerpts from the article:

            ………..”State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), chairman of the Cobb Legislative Delegation, said had the General Assembly known what kind of project list the 21-member Atlanta Regional Roundtable, made up of Lee and other county chairmen and mayors, created, the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 would never have left committee.”………..

            ……..”Lee spent most of his time talking about the most expensive project on Cobb’s list, a $695 million Acworth-Midtown bus line. That bus line could switch to a Cumberland-Midtown light rail line if the county’s “alternatives analysis” study due in 2013 recommends that option and the federal government grants Cobb several hundred million dollars to pay for it.”…….

            ……..”“It’s hard to vote for something that’s not clearly defined, and I think that spells almost certain doom for that tax,” state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) said after the delegation met with Lee at Chattahoochee Technical College. “If it’s not clearly defined, I can’t see the voters supporting it.””………

            ………”Lee admitted that the language in the TSPLOST literature for $695 million in “enhanced premium transit service” approved by the regional roundtable was unclear.”………

            ……….”“The description purpose and benefit in this document is very convoluted,” Lee said. “That’s because that’s how staff believed it needed to be written in order to be responsive to the requirements that the TIA bill outlined as to how the projects ought to be presented.””

            Another key excerpt about somewhat surprising support for commuter rail as an overlooked alternative to a vaguely worded bus proposal that alone takes up close of 60% of Cobb’s projected T-SPLOST revenues in a historically stridently anti-rail county from State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), chairman of the Cobb Legislative Delegation:

            “Setzler emphasized that under the list approved by Lee, 70 percent of Cobb’s allocated funding is going to a $700 million dollar bus line.”………

            ………”“And that’s not what Cobb County wants,” Setzler said. “Not only does it not solve our traffic problems, I believe, frankly, it kills any prospect of passing meaningful traffic relief.”……..

            ………”Setzler reiterated that he is not opposed to utilizing rail for traffic relief and has proposed outfitting the existing CSX line for use as passenger rail. But Lee opposed this idea, saying it had not been properly studied.”……..

            ……….”“There’s two distinct visions,” Setzler said. “One vision is to use transit as a way of remaking our community. The other vision is using transit as a people-mover to solve traffic problems. If the ‘people-mover’ vision had prevailed with our local leaders, then we’d be developing the CSX opportunity, but the prevailing framework is that transit can be a tool to transform a community into something that it’s not today and that’s what their purpose is.””

            So according to the Cobb County state legislative delegation and Cobb Board of Commission of Chairman, Tim Lee, the $695 million could be switched back from “enhanced premium bus service” to a Cumberland-Midtown light rail line or whatever the county’s “alternative analysis” study recommends in 2013 AFTER voters have approved the list in July 2012. Which means that voters could be “baited” with a very non-specific proposal and then “switched” onto something else completely different that is only spectulative in nature and is not necessarily clearly defined at this exact time AFTER the list has supposedly been finalized.

            This restlessness over the makeup of the list is taking place in a county that is home to the second-largest bloc of Republican voters in the state (second in size only to Gwinnett). If voters and their legislative representatives in a conservative mega-suburban county like Cobb have major problems with the project selection process and the resulting finalized list, then it’s not all that unlikely that conservative voters throughout the rest of 10-county Atlanta Region have major problems with the list as well.

            There may be nothing in the bill that says that funds can be diverted to other projects not approved by the voters.

            But as the controversy over the makeup of the list in Cobb County illustrates, the language in the text of the bill that supposedly restricts revenues from being shifted from one project to another is seemingly not necessarily as strong as some backers of the tax and referendum make it out to be.

  2. Herb says:

    Hot Lanes are a great source of revenue for the GA State Government. In the next 10 years, I predict that this will net the state at least $7.5 million.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Not goin’ happen.

      The I-85 HOT lanes cost $60,000,000 to build, and they’ll cost millions a year to operate in excess of revenues. They’ll be trumpeted as a success should they ever break even. The whole issue with the I-85 HOT lanes are the millions of dollars a year being spent without reducing congestion.

      HOT lanes are a good idea if they pay for themselves; amortized capital cost + operating costs greater than or equal to revenue and the value of congestion relief — the I-85 project is a dud.

  3. Buzz, thanks for posting this. I assume it’s around 5,000 daily inbound, 5,000 daily outbound, with the majority being the same cars over and over. True?

    Here’s my real question, and it may have been answered elsewhere: How many cars pass daily along the same highway stretch (say, Old Peachtree to Chamblee Tucker, or some ) that are *not* using Peach Pass?

    • I would assume there are a core group of daily users but in talking with folks I think there are a large number who use the HOT lanes sporadically. Many people who live and work in Gwinnett don’t use 85 during rush hour very often.

      I don’t know the number of people who use the general purpose lanes. I’m sure that data exists.

      I still think they need to greatly increase the number of access points to help people who live and work in Gwinnett use it more efficiently. I’ve also come to think that during non-peak hours they should make the toll very small, maybe even a penny per mile or something.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Thanks for the link. Within the data on that page through the link that you provided I found data that stated that the total amount of vehicles using I-85 between Beaver Ruin Road and Steve Reynolds Boulevard was estimated to be at about 298,550 a day on average in 2010, which if I’m correct would make that stretch of I-85 one of the ten busiest stretches of road on the North American continent.

  4. Agree on the penny a mile or small toll. There’s no traffic at those times, though, so not sure why people would pay…. but It would help people to get used to the concept. It they aren’t using it during “Rush Three-Hour”, though, what’s the point?

    And, knowing how many other cars go up and down the highway during the day on 85 would give us an idea of whether this is having any effect on total traffic. The concept was a good one, but based on public reaction there may not be enough people using it to alleviate traffic (because of the cost and the lack of knowledge on how to sign up for it.)

    • Harry says:

      Based on the so-far sparse usage of the lexus lanes on 85, the state will be unable to collect sufficient toll revenues in order to propose a viable financial model on other sections of interstate. If it doesn’t produce revenue on Gwinnett 85 it can’t work anywhere. Therefore, right now it appears to be a pilot project that won’t be repeated.

      Sorta like the GDOT version of the Euro.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        With the constant drumbeat of continuing positive news stories like “Peach Pass sales hit 100,000” (http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2011/nov/02/peach-pass-sales-hit-100000/) and “Usage triples in first month of HOT lanes” (http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2011/oct/29/usage-triples-in-first-month-of-hot-lanes/?c=5448) coming from SRTA to portray the I-85 HOT lanes as being a smashing success with usage increasing by the day, no matter how much your lyin’ eyes may say otherwise, it seems as though the state has every intention of replicating the HOT lane concept on other freeways around the Atlanta Region.

        This link gives some insight into how much state officials have embraced the HOT lane concept and the extent of their plans to build a network of managed lanes all over Metro Atlanta (be sure to check out the section of the page titled “Managed Lane Network”):
        http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/5540

        Because of the much-publicized dissatifaction from commuters over the implementation of the I-85 HOT lanes, the state was expecting some kind of backlash or rebuke of the policy from voters in Gwinnett in the form of a possible failure of the E-SPLOST or even a strong showing against it last Tuesday during the election.

        But since that expected strong showing against never materialized and the renewal of the E-SPLOST passed overwhelmingly by about 21 points with strong organized opposition to the HOT lanes by way of the E-SPLOST seemingly nowhere to be found from our friends in the Georgia Tea Party or any of the seemingly burgeoning anti-HOT lanes movements, backers of the HOT lane concept and the T-SPLOST at the state and regional levels don’t think that the opposition to their initiatives may be as stiff as they once thought it might be or anticipated, so expect them to go all out in their pursuit there doesn’t seem to be as much resistance to fear as had originally been portrayed.

      • Rambler1414 says:

        “If it doesn’t produce revenue on Gwinnett 85, it can’t work anywhere.”

        This might be true,
        If the models for 75/575 and 400 were similar to 85.
        They aren’t.
        75/575 and 400 will most likely NOT be general purpose lane conversions similar to 85. They will be built as additional capacity.

        • Harry says:

          That’s why the revenue projections won’t work. The construction cost will far exceed the toll revenue. Construction costs have greatly escalated since the time when GA400 was built, and obviously the revenue collected from a single optional lexus lane in each direction will not come close to what is collected on GA400.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            Have you forgotten that we’re talking about the Georgia Department of Transportation? A government agency that for many of the last several years in the post-Olympic era has based much of their transportation planning on pure fantasy and even outright delusion.

            Who cares if the cost of construction will far exceed the revenue collected from tolls?

            Just like many of the state’s increasingly grandiose (and misguided) transportation proposals in the post-Olympic era, we’ll just pretend like the money to fund it will materialize out of thin air (from a bankrupt federal government) while the geniuses at GDOT and SRTA pat themselves on the back, give each other high-fives and pretend like they are once again completely relevant and have come up with the greatest traffic management invention of all-time.

            Heck, if anything, at least the massive traffic jams that result from the implementation of the managed lane concept all over the Atlanta Region will create a HUGE demand for mass transit that as of now has previously been unseen around these parts.

            When reality no longer works as a feasible transportation planning policy, a policy deeply based in fantasy and steeped in delusion is clearly the way to go.

      • “Based on the so-far sparse usage of the lexus lanes on 85, the state will be unable to collect sufficient toll revenues in order to propose a viable financial model on other sections of interstate.”

        Perhaps they should allow Mercedes, BMWs and Fords to drive in the lanes as well then.

        • Calypso says:

          Yes to MB and BMW, but drop Ford and add Infiniti and Jaguar. Atlanta is, you know, the city of conspicuous consumption. 🙂

          • I only said Ford because that happens to be what I own at the moment. (Though I’d absolutely love to see a diesel dually Toyota Tundra.) However, I don’t live in that area anymore, so I don’t really have a need to use those lanes, so I’m fine with your suggestions. 🙂

Comments are closed.