The U.S. Department of Transportation has denied Georgia's request for a waiver to allow two-person carpools in the I-85 HOT lanes.
Currently, vehicles must have three or more people to use the High Occupancy Toll lanes for free.
"I wasn't surprised," said Howard Rodgers, co-founder of stolenlanes.org, a coalition that opposes the toll lanes. He and others now plan to travel to Washington to talk with federal officials.
In a letter to state transportation leaders, the U.S. DOT wrote, "The HOT lane has only been operating for a brief period, and we believe it is too early to evaluate its effectiveness at this time."
The letter also said the toll rates and drivers' unfamiliarity with the lanes may be contributing to their low use.
Rodgers' group said the HOT lanes have created more congestion in the non-toll lanes and increased commute times.
"The next course of action is to go petition the federal government and take the voice of Georgia to them, instead of waiting for them to come down to us," said Rodgers.
Georgia's Clean Air Campaign said the waiver denial may prompt more commuters to consider carpooling. The agency has placed 36 drivers in carpools since the HOT lanes opened.
"We've got several more commuters that were sort of on the fence, waiting to find out when this new development would come down from the feds," said spokesman Brian Carr. "So now, we're probably able to help them," Carr added.
Rodgers is shocked by the low number of people who have opted to carpool.
"Thirty-six? That's a good joke," Rodgers said. "The feds have the ability to suspend the program. They also have the ability to call the program a failure and just wipe it off the books."
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
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Monday, May 20 2013 6:56 PM EDT2013-05-20 22:56:26 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:50:22 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:41 PM EDT2013-05-22 02:41:44 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:15 PM EDT2013-05-22 03:15:51 GMT
It has been more than 2 years since a tornado with winds of 175 miles per hour demolished homes and businesses in Ringgold, Catoosa County. But, the pain of the past is still visible in many parts of theMore >
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Monday, May 20 2013 5:16 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:16:44 GMT
DeKalb County Police confirm that a former NFL player David McMillan III was shot and killed in Decatur on Saturday. McMillan played for the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2007. Based on witness statementsMore >
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