Drivers who frequently use GA 400 are celebrating after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's announcement Thursday that the toll booths are coming down.
"Yay!" said driver Diana Gowins, who often has to search her car for coins to pay the toll. "It's just good news. It's good to hear that we'll no longer have to pay those tolls."
"I take the toll every day twice a day, going to work, coming from work," said Alvin Roberts. "So I'm relieved that it's coming down."
Deal said the state will stop collecting the 50 cents per car toll in December of 2013. He said that's the earliest the state can remove the toll without incurring penalties for early payment of the bonds.
"As long as it comes down, I'm good to go," said Roberts. "That a buck day. That's five dollars a week. That adds up."
In the early 1990s, state officials vowed to remove the tolls on GA-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 interchange connecting GA-400 to Interstate 85.
Some critics question the timing of the governor's announcement. It came less than two weeks before voters will cast their votes on a whether to approve a transportation special purpose local option sales tax, commonly known as T-SPLOST.
On July 31, voters will decide whether to raise the regional sales tax by one percent to pay for billions of dollars in massive overhauls to the region's highways and rail systems.
Opponents have complained that state government cannot be trusted to keep its promises.
"I want to remove that impression," Deal said Thursday.
"I think it's all political, without a doubt," said Lee Fleck, a commuter who lives in Roswell. "Gov. Deal is trying to coerce North Fulton into supporting TSPLOST."
"I think it's all calculated," said Roberts, a daily commuter. "But then again, it's politics, so that's just how it goes."
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