I attended the HOT lane (I-75 Express lane) meeting in Henry county tonight, I spoke with a reporter from channel 5 and I noticed that when I was done Gerald Ross the Chief Engineer for GDOT was waiting. We started in a general discussion about why I am opposed to the toll roads in general and his first defense was that they were not there to discuss the I-85 area. Our conversation became expressive at one time and he tried to walk away, I extended a handshake and offered to start again and we talked for about 45 minutes. Here is my 10 list of things I learned (as educated by Gerald).
10. The HOV lanes on I-20 & I-75 are changing to HOV-3 lanes. asked when he only said he wasn't sure.
9. The meeting was a great success. GDOT is not interested in Town halls anymore because at the one in Gwinnett when 12 (yes he said tweleve and I challenged him but he stuck to 12) people walked out and the news reported that half the people in attendance walked out. Since the news misreported the story and only showed the angry people they were not doing town halls anymore, but are now doing open showings and walking people through the exhibit one on one. (by the way the people of Henry County really love this idea, he stated).
7. I am an A-type personality. He was frustrated with my questions and started to justify reasons as to why I did not like the lanes.
6. The complainers in Gwinnett are A-type personalities. His response to my question as to why the I-85 lanes had a 4% approval rating. He stated that only the A-types complain and those who are satisfied with the lanes are not the type to speak up.
5. I am a Government Conspiracy believer type. again, he was frustrated with my questions and started to justify reasons as to why I did not like the lanes. I explained that I was not that type and he simply nodded and shrugged (body language indicated he was sceptical).
4. The reason for the need of the new express lane on I-75 is that the road is UNRELIABLE. The lanes are not congested, but they are the 2nd most unreliable lanes in the U.S. Since traffic can flow at 70mph one day and slow the next there is a need for change (no accounting for the idea that you are traveling west toward the sunset).
3. He goes where he is told to go. I asked if he would be willing to do another Town Hall meeting to help Gwinnett understand the processes in the works to fix the current problems. (I guess he goes where the Governor tells him to).
2. I am uneducated on the system. When I asked too many questions and countered them with Mis-statements. Once I asked about why we were paying for lanes that we already paid for and explained that his budget comes from taxes collected, he said that the lanes were not already paid for and if they were then he would not need improvement revenues.
1. I should just "don't use the lane, stay in traffic and stay close minded". Right before he tried to walk away for the first time, he made this remark and I wrote it down and told him I was going to quote him on it. He later asked me not to use it stating that he was frustrated with me when he said it.
I enjoyed our talk an dexplained that the Henry County lanes were a different beast, but I was still going to fight it all the way. At 7:00 when the meeting was to end he had to leave so we shook hands and parted. Henry andClayton counties... BUYER BEWARE.