HOT Lane Data And Town Hall Questions Answered

As you know, I’ve been compiling data on the I-85 HOT lanes provided by press release from SRTA. Late last week the Governor’s office sent many of the Gwinnett Representatives additional data on the HOT lanes. Included in those documents were answers to every question submitted at the much maligned October 24 Town Hall meeting organized by the Gwinnett Republican Party. People should know that at that Town Hall meeting many of my colleagues and I, as well as the representative from SRTA, stayed until almost 10 PM answering questions.

Also included were answers to questions submitted by Howard Rogers who organized the Town Hall meeting held last week.

HOT lane project overview.
HOT Lane Overview 11/16/11
Managed Lane System Plan
Environmental Assessment for HOT lane project.

October 2010 vs October 2011 AM data
October 2010 vs October 2011 PM data
Tolled and non Tolled trips October 2011
Daily Trips November 2011
Trips and Daily Fare thru 10/31/11
Total Peach Passes Assigned
Traffic Volume Comparison

23 comments

      • Todd Rehm says:

        It means that one of the political decisions that most affects quality of life for people who live in Gwinnett was made by unelected bureaucrats and they have reduced the legislature to the role of conveying to the voters what the bureaucrats are doing with our money.

        If you ask Senator Unterman, she might say that the fox is guarding the henhouse.

        • GTKay says:

          I would say a patient, careful analysis of the facts is a better description. I don’t think Buzz is the type to carry anyone’s water.

            • GTKay says:

              What SRTA put out was data. Trip times, average speeds, average tolls, etc. The data shows that on the first week of HOT lanes the volumes in the GP lanes were less than they were during the same week in 2010. The don’t offer any reasons why or what the data implies or proves.

        • Perhaps it was a mistake for the Legislature to create SRTA as an independent agency. I think we need to reexamine that decision and see if there is a better way to do it.

          However, the HOT lanes are here so we need to look at the data to see if they are working, and what might be done to improve them. It seems unlikely to me the Legislature can shut them down. Passing on the information SRTA and DOT send me is my attempt to keep my constiuents informed. Posting on Peach Pundit exposes the information to a wider audience.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            “Perhaps it was a mistake for the Legislature to create SRTA as an independent agency. I think we need to reexamine that decision and see if there is a better way to do it.”

            Seeing if there is a better way for SRTA to operate is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to see if it makes the crippled ship float any better while quickly sinking into the sea.

            In this case, the “ship” represents our state’s shipwrecked transportation policy and the “sea” represents the deep ocean of incompetence that said policy is quickly sinking into.

            The only choices in this equation either seem to be very bad (SRTA operating as an agency under the “control” and “oversight” of an often totally whacked-out state legislature), really awful (SRTA operating under the control of what is at times a completely dysfunctional GDOT) or much worse (SRTA operating as an independent agency).

            Any way you shuffle the chairs around, the ship is still going to sink. So pick your poison…And the poison that the Legislature chose was to have SRTA operate as a stand alone agency.

            Who ever thought that poison could go down so smooth and taste so good?….

            But I guess that if there was anybody that could, or should, fix this mess, it would be the same people who gleefully created it through years of wanton neglect and incompetent mismanagement, the Legislature.

  1. Todd Rehm says:

    I want it to be clear I’m not criticizing Buzz here, as his stated reasons for doing so are fine ones and because the creation of SRTA predates his election. I’m criticizing a renegade state agency that has greater power than even the mighty GDOT because they have their own money sources.

    The idea of a state agency that continually flouts the will of the legislature and had rendered the legislature impotent to rein them in should shock anyone who supports representative government.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “The idea of a state agency that continually flouts the will of the legislature and had rendered the legislature impotent to rein them in should shock anyone who supports representative government.”

      It should, but unfortunately, it doesn’t.

      And I disagree that SRTA has rendered the legislature impotent to rein them in as the legislature can rein in SRTA anytime that it wants to, but it seemingly doesn’t want to.

      There’s a reason that SRTA is an independent agency and it’s not because the Legislature is “letting” them be and remain independent, but because the Legislature wants them to be independent so that SRTA, as a stand-alone agency of bureaucrats, can take the heat for transportations decisions that were already going to be made.

      The Legislature is just using SRTA to do its dirty work for them that the politicians don’t want to do themselves.

      Dirty work like “motivating” transit-averse suburbanites in Gwinnett and Cobb to use transit over the long-term.

      I haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but I am starting to get the feeling that this is about so infinitely much more than just clearing a couple of HOV lanes in Gwinnett.

      I can’t necessarily elaborate, but the planned regionwide network of HOT lanes seems to be already “baked-in-the-cake” as, in the big picture, these lanes look to have something to do with the Port of Savannah expansion, capital investment, truck freight and the dead Outer Perimeter bypass proposal. All of these items seem to be linked together somewhat loosely at the very least.

      • Calypso says:

        “There’s a reason that SRTA is an independent agency and it’s not because the Legislature is “letting” them be and remain independent, but because the Legislature wants them to be independent so that SRTA, as a stand-alone agency of bureaucrats, can take the heat for transportations decisions that were already going to be made. The Legislature is just using SRTA to do its dirty work for them that the politicians don’t want to do themselves.”

        This is as true a statement as has ever been made. I feel the same way about T-SPLOST. The legislature is abdicating their responsibility and throwing the results of the outcome of the referendum back on the voters. It’s a win for the legislature and a lose for the citizens no matter the end result of the election. “What? WE didn’t raise your taxes, YOU did it to yourselves.” –OR– “What? We aren’t responsible for the abominable traffic in metro Atlanta, YOU chose not to pay to improve it.” Either way, the legislature finds exoneration and we get left holding the bag of sh!t.

        How in the world can the legislature expect something as technically complex as the T-SPLOST been understood by the average voter? This is a representative democracy. We elect folks to do the heavy lifting and cast their votes accordingly as representatives of the people who elected them, not to shirk their responsibilities and pawn it off on a rather uninformed citizenry. The Sunday sales question I can live with, but not something as involved as T-SPLOST. I find it incredulous that we allow them to get away with crap like this.

        • GTKay says:

          I do think the legislature has failed to adequately fund transportation over the years, but recalling the hyperventilating that resulted from an automatic gas tax adjustment last spring of something like a penny a gallon, I can see why they’re reluctant.

          I wouldn’t call the TSPLOST complex, though. The list of projects will have been published for nine months before it’s voted on in July. There are maps and detailed descriptions of each project. I think the real problem is not complexity but apathy. It’s work to be informed about ballot issues, but it’s a duty that comes with the privilege of a representative government. Unfortunately, outrage, anger, Facebook protest pages, and rambling, cynical posts are the fashion these days, when paying attention and a little proactive research might have brought about different results at the ballot box.

          • Calypso says:

            You are glossing over my point, that being T-SPLOST should have never been a referendum. As far as it not being complex, again, I disagree. Apathy does play a role, but given the intricacies of the bill, I understand completely why most people will scratch their heads and indiscriminately touch ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the screen. Or leave it blank.

            You GTKay, Last Democrat, perhaps some legislators, and 48 other Georgians will have a thorough understanding of T-SPLOST and its implications come election day.

            The legislators are copping out. Buzz, you and the others just do the job we elected you to do. Don’t turn Georgia into a referendum state like California.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              You’re right, as I understand the T-SPLOST list much better than I’d like to. But then again I’m a cynical pr*ck so I never take anything presented to me by politicians and bureaucrats at face value anyway (Do you see what politricks can and will do to you?)

              Ignorance is bliss and let’s just say that I’m not a very happy camper.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “Either way, the legislature finds exoneration and we get left holding the bag of sh!t.”

          Truer words have never been spoken.

  2. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    For those in government that are in just so IN LOVE with the HOT Lane concept and think that the public will eventually come around to share your love and admiration for the tolled carpool lanes, here’s a link to a Channel 2 Action News article titled “Poll shows HOT lanes despised by public” that shows otherwise:

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/poll-shows-hot-lanes-despised-public/nFmBr/#comments

    From the article:

    “ATLANTA — It’s clear new toll lanes on Interstate 85 are not popular with some drivers, but a new InsiderAdvantage/Channel 2 Action News poll puts them in a historic place alongside the Northern Arc and the last Georgia state flag……”

    “The poll asked registered voters in metro Atlanta, “If you are aware of the I-85 HOT lanes what are your opinions?” A staggering low 4 percent said the lanes are effective. Twenty-eight percent said the lanes are not effective, and 45 percent said the lanes are making traffic worse. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent…..”

    “”This is the most hated concept probably ever created in the history of government. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery……”

    “”It says they need to take those lanes and immediately eliminate them,” Towery told Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary……”

    “Drivers using the interstate daily told Geary the toll lanes have done nothing but make their travels worse……”

    “Towery said he doesn’t think the toll lanes will hurt Gov. Nathan Deal who took office with the toll lane construction well under way, but he told Geary the new toll lanes will make it extremely difficult to pass a penny sales tax for transportation that voters will be asked to vote on next year……”

    “”They are building nothing but bad will in a year that they’re trying to pass a transportation SPLOST. You can’t build bad will and also at the same time ask people to vote for an increase in taxes,” Towery said…….”

    “”It’s a total disaster. Without doubt one of the biggest blunders in the history of Georgia politics since I’ve been covering it,” Towery said.”

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Harry says:

      And yet…and yet, in spite of near universal disapproval I expect that the legislature will take no action to remove them. “There’s nothing we can do about it.”

  3. GTKay says:

    212 people? And the question was, ” Are you aware of the HOT lanes?” not “Do you drive I85 in Gwinnett?” You could live in Paulding Co. And be aware of the HOT lanes from all the hype in the media.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      In asking the question, “Are you aware of the HOT lanes?”, I guess that they were trying to ascertain that they were not talking to an employee of SRTA, where they seem to have not a clue of what is going on in the news that they’ve been a key part of over the past couple-of-months. Just kidding, kind of.

      But seriously, I agree. I think that they should have polled a much larger sample of voters, preferably in Gwinnett right along the I-85 Northeast Corridor where I am absolutely certain there would have been a much more favorable view of the HOT lane concept.

      Yeah, right! Who are we kidding here? Dr. Conrad Murray, Kaylee Anthony, O.J. Simpson and Congress all probably have higher polls numbers than the I-85 HOT lanes.

      With a margin-of-error of plus/minus five percent, it is very much possible that the HOT lanes could have polled with virtually no measurable support. How’s that for popularity?

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