An organization that opposes the HOT lanes along I-85 said it will continue to fight to get rid of the controversial toll lanes.
"It's been one of those situations where they're blindly throwing darts at a board and hoping something sticks," said Howard Rodgers of Stolen Lanes. "Nothing seems to be working right now."
The governor now has the power to lower the tolls to just one cent per mile during non-rush hour periods.
"If you look at these lanes off peak, there's nobody traveling in the lanes because you're traveling at a speed limit ride down I-85," Haley said. "Nobody would be willing to pay anything to get in that lane, even a penny."
When the toll lanes opened Oct. 1, cars were backed up for miles on the interstate while the HOT lanes sat empty. Now that the state feels the HOT lanes work during rush hour, they want to tweak the other times.
"We've noticed during the non-peak hours, in the middle of the day or even at midnight or on the weekends, that the lanes are not used at all. They're just completely empty," said Brian Robinson, deputy chief of staff with Gov. Nathan Deal's office.
Deal asked, and the federal government approved, his request to lower the fee during those times to one cent per mile.
"I think that's a good idea. I think it's more cost effective for people who commute," driver Maidah Weh said.
However, most morning commuters Thursday said since the change doesn't affect the peak traffic times, they don't think it will make any difference.
"Why would you pay a penny a mile if the other lanes are moving?" asked Mike Chapman. He added, "The economy's tight right now."
"If it's non-peak hours, then why is it needed? It should not have been implemented to big with," Rory Pike said.
The governor's office stands behind the latest move to make HOT lanes smoother.
"We think this is a big step forward. It made no sense to charge somebody $3 to ride in a lane that nobody was using. So now people can ride the full length of that lane for 16 cents," Robinson said.
The other change is the HOT lanes would be open to everyone to use for free if there's an emergency situation whether you have a Peach Pass or not.
Robinson said they'd like to make it free during off-peak hours but that would take a federal waiver, and it isn't likely to happen.
The State Road and Tollway Authority still has to vote on this change next week. The Governor's office said SRTA supports the chance and they fully expect it to pass.
Stolen Lanes plans to send representatives to Washington next month to talk with national transportation leaders about how to improve the toll lane project.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 10:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:30:43 GMT
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Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
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