Gov. Nathan Deal announced that he will eliminate the tolls on GA-400, keeping the pledge he made when was a candidate.
"We will end the tolls on GA-400," Deal said. "We believe that it is keeping with what we had made promises about and what is in keeping with the best interest of Georgia."
State officials in the early 1990s vowed to remove the tolls on 400 once the highway was paid for. That was supposed to happen last year, but state transportation officials voted to extend the toll to 2020 to pay for a $21-million-dollar interchange connecting 400 to Interstate-85.
The governor made his announcement less than two weeks before people around metro Atlanta cast their votes on the transportation special purpose local option sales tax, commonly known as T-SPLOST.
Voters on July 31 will decide whether to raise the regional sales tax by one cent to pay for billions of dollars in massive overhauls to the highways and rails.
The governor has said the program would fix metro Atlanta's aging roads, create jobs and strengthen the region's position as the powerhouse of the south.
Opponents have complained that government cannot be trusted to keep its promises.
"I want to remove that impression," Deal said.
When asked if he is abolishing the tolls to gain support in what's expected to be a very close vote on T-SPLOST, the governor responded, "they will reach their own conclusion about that."
"We recognize the importance of transportation but we also recognize the importance of public confidence in projects of this magnitude," Deal said.
Drivers like Terrance Dykes said it is time for the state to eliminate the tolls.
"If they get rid of the tolls, there's no toll booth, we can just roll."
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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