These three aspects are listed among the "unalienable rights" or sovereign rights of man.
Life - the general or universal condition of human existence.
Liberty - freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
Happiness - good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.
By consuming more of my time in transit versus my time at home at least two of my rights have been violated willingly by the State of Georgia and SRTA. To claim that my right to life has been harmed would be a reach but I am certain I could argue the point, in this instace I wont. My Liberty has been impeded upon by interfering in my control of my day to day travel patterns and times. By implementing the new HOT lanes the state has caused conditions that require me to either leave home or work earlier or to be late and risk loss of employment. This also interferes in my ability to lead the quality of life that I had before the Tolls went into effect. As for my Happiness... well let's just say that the added stress of the longer commute, the extra tank of gas that I now have to pay for and the lost time at home with my family are mere bits and pieces that lead to reasons why I am not such a happy go lucky guy anymore.
I suppose the Georgia Government interprets the Declaration of Independence to have been written for them and not the CITIZENS of the United States.
Remember 7 short weeks ago when you woke up and headed out the door on your way to work and realized you suddenly had to pay $5.50 to get there? Remember that anger as you spent the next 4 days complaining then on the TV you saw the Governor call for a TEMPORARY reduction in the rates? Now that $1.95 doesn't seem so bad huh? But wait... Last Thursday the rate was closer to $3.00, yet no one complained. Are you used to the idea now, or just resigned to the idea that you can't change it? WRONG!!! you have the power to affect more change than you believe. SRTA and the Governors office are claiming victory because their phones have stopped ringing, well make them ring agan I say.
Here are the numbers
Governors office - 404-656-1776
Gena Evans - 404-893-6111
One thing if for sure in this entire HOT lane issue, Governor Nathan Deal is in charge. Now we wont allow the minions at SRTA to walk away clean here, afterall just one person at STRA with the courage to step forward would have weakened my argument entirely. However with the inside information from more than three elected officials that would not attend the Town Hall and one inside the Governors office all stating that the Governor INSTRUCTED them all to stay away from the issus and let it die on the vine, I call foul, BULLSH*T, LIAR, and many other names I'd rather not have my kids reading today. For the Governor to interfere with a public meeting by instructing his minions at SRTA to keep away he has proven that he is only interested in the monetary interests of his projects. Afterall this is the same man who wanted us to pave a road infront of his business that typically only saw 3-4 cars a day (mostly employees). He also wanted to pressure STATE officials to continue a non-competitive state program that provides roughly $300,000 worth of business per year to Deal’s salvage yard. Backdoor BACKPOCKET contributions is what I call it.
As for his alliance with the SRTA minions... HE had the power to instruct them to attend the Town Hall meeting, but failed. HE promised to close GA 400 when elected, remember the photo of him in front of the toll road holding a closed sign? He stated that the continuing toll amounted to an unfair toll on N Ga citizens. But once he realized HE now had power to run an agency with minimal financial oversight and accounting, one that had power to toll any road in the state, the power CONTINUED to corrupt.
Need more proof? read the 13 questions submitted to SRTA for the Town Hall and the 64 submitted from the past town hall. I challenge you to find one solid answer, not filled with political spin or the hint of SRTA arrogance (remember these guys report directly to the Governor).
I have had the FLU for the last few days but am starting to feel better, maybe by Tuesday I will be back at 1oo% and ready to challenge the BS we were given by these two numbskull offices.
The State Road and Toll Authority (SRTA) has responded to questions that were originally posted on StolenLanes.org on 11/10/2011. These responses are shown below. In addition, you can see the original response to these questions, and supplemental PDF documents that were sent by SRTA to us at the following links:
Download Responses to Questions to SRTA and GDOT.PDF (131.0K)
Download Traffic Volume Comparison.pdf (36.1K)
Download Trips and Daily Fare_110111.pdf (86.0K)
Download I-85 Daily Trips and Fare_November_1-13.pdf (80.3K)
Download Total Peach Passes Assigned.pdf (194.8K)
Download Tolled and Non Tolled Trips_October 2011.pdf (343.4K)
Download ManagedLanesSystem Plan.pdf (2169.2K)
Download Final FONSI 20100202.pdf (62.9K)
1. What defines a success or failure of the HOT lanes along the I-85 corridor?
The USDOT’s performance standard for HOT lanes states that vehicles should maintain an average speed of at least 45 mph (90 percent of the time) during peak hours. SRTA and GDOT will submit performance data at 1 year, 3 years and 5 years based on these standards. In addition, this project’s primary goals are to provide choices to commuters within the corridor and an option that will ensure reliable travel times for motorists. Success of the project will be defined through the USDOT national evaluation standards as outlined above and through a compilation of congestion mitigation strategies to include the Express Lanes system, mode shifts to transit and transit ridership.
If there were 21,000 Peach Pass trips per day in the Express Lanes, the lane would not function properly and would operate similarly to the general purpose lanes where service level degrades, there is no trip time reliability, and gridlock occurs during peak rush hours. Based on the 2008/2009 traffic study, we expect that the lane should support 1200-1400 vehicles per hour, per lane during peak periods. However, the lane is already servicing more vehicles than expected. Additionally, handling 1200-1400 vehicles per hour during peak periods does not mean that one could expect 36,000 trips in 24 hours. Attached is a chart (Traffic Volume Comparison) graphing how the lane performed by hour as an HOV lane, and how it performs now by hour as an ExpressLane.
Within the first month of operations, Express Lanes usage tripled, and there have been over 108,000 Peach Passes issued to motorists. As with other states that have implemented Express Lanes, usage of the Express Lanes steadily increases as motorists become more and more familiar with how to use the lanes. As this is a demonstration project SRTA and GDOT welcome motorists’ feedback on operational improvements and have been making changes since the opening. As a result of motorists’ feedback, an additional access point will be established in the southbound direction of the Express Lanes and the parameters were adjusted to the tolling system so that motorists experienced lower toll rates. All citizens can provide suggestions for operational improvements by completing the online survey at www.peachpass.com. Attached you will find graphs showing lane utilization, Peach Pass issuance and average fare since opening (attachments: Trips and Daily Fare (2 charts), Peach Pass Issuance).
The Express Lanes project was never intended to be a revenue generating system. Though we do not expect any excess revenue for several years, a final determination of the use of excess funds has not been made at this time. We are collectively working with other transportation agencies both at the State and Federal level to determine how those funds would be utilized in the future, if and when excess revenues occur.We welcome feedback and suggestions as to what would be the best use of excess toll revenue once it becomes available.
SRTA and GDOT are constantly evaluating data from the roadway. Jointly, GDOT and SRTA are working with the USDOT, the USDOT’s national evaluation team (Batelle) and the Georgia Institute of Technology to monitor the performance of the lanes. As noted in answer 1, we will be submitting performance data at 1, 3 and 5 year checkpoints.
There is no tax deduction for use of toll lanes in Georgia. However, consult your tax advisor in regards to deductions for business-related travel.
This project does not have a phase II; however, the Managed Lanes System plan proposes to add HOT lanes and/or convert HOV lanes to HOT lanes to other corridors within the metro Atlanta area. The Managed Lanes System plan is attached.
SRTA is responsible for collecting and managing all toll revenue. All tolls collected fromthe I-85 Express Lanes are used for operations.
Though we do not expect any excess revenue for several years, we are collectively working with other transportation agencies both at the State and Federal level to determine how any excess revenue would be utilized in the future. We welcome yourfeedback and suggestions and will consider ways to utilize excess revenue once it becomes available.
Tolling the Express Lanes 24/7, allows for a consistent approach to use the lanes while also allowing for tolling to be in place to help manage demand during off-peak special events such as sporting events, conferences, entertainment events, etc. As this is a pilot project, we continue to tweak and make operational adjustments to the Express Lanes system. As shown on the attached graph, operational improvements can be made that will impact utilization during off peak hours. Examination of off peak travel is under consideration at this time with USDOT and GDOT. We will keep the public informed as we work through those changes to operations.
There are currently 6,231 toll-exempt Peach Passes in circulation. Of that 6231, there are 1,368 for motorcycles. The toll-exempt total covers Peach Passes that have been issued for customer accounts that will always have at least three or more people in a vehicle or motorcycles when using the Express Lanes. See attached Tolled vs. Non-Tolled trips chart.As of 11/14/11, 54,135 of Peach Passes were used on GA 400 and 23,762 Peach Passes were used on I-85. To provide some additional background on transponder issuance, we had 293,356 Cruise Cards in circulation prior to our back office system go live and before official registration opened for Peach Pass in June of this year. With the steady usage we’ve experienced in the Express Lanes, we are tracking consistently with earlier projections that 10% of the Peach Passes issued would use the Express Lanes. To date, we’ve issued 108,577 Peach Passes since June of this year. Below is a breakdown of the transponder account types:
First this is not a Partisan Rant, I voted for Nathan Deal (just so you know). I will not be fooled again. Governor Deal the Chairman of SRTA has lost his ability to lead that office and has allowed them to snub their noses to the public by ignoring continued requests to attend an open Town Hall soley dedicated to the HOT lane issue. Just a few weeks ago when asked about the issue he replied "We just have to learn from things as we go along. This is a learning experience for all of us." But he is not interested in coming to the classroom for an education on how the persons he was elected to represent feel about the issue at hand. NOR is he willing to at the least send a representative from his office (or the SRTA office) to the Town Hall. I have been told by several sources, that his ORDER to State employees involved was to "stay away, leave it alone and let it die on the vine". I suppose he believes we are simple minded enough that we will forget all of this in a week or so and immediately run out and register for Peach Passes. Well, Governor Deal, my offering to you is that I am a simple seedling on this vine and this issue WILL NOT die off as you hope. Good luck with this on your side of the office door, we the public are not going to stop knocking.
Remember when the purpose of the HOV lanes was to generate more groups carpooling in the HOV lane and air quality was to improve? Heck they called it the clean air campaign.... so beautiful!!!! Well now it seems that if you want the ability to go back into the lane all you need to do is pay a small fee and the State and all of the authorities will turn a blind eye to your violation (of course now with a payoff its all legal). So the air around the corridor is getting cleaner...? What about the air quality off of Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Buford Hwy, and Lawrenceville Hwy where those who are looking to avoid the I-85 traffic have sought refuge? Now the traffic in those areas is worse, air quality has to be suffering and it is all ok because SRTA can claim a success on passing out 100,000 peach passes. I suppose there is one reason to be happy I drive I-85, my air is cleaner than those on the side roads.
The State Road and Toll Authority (SRTA) maintains that it will not attend an upcoming I-85 HOT Lane Town Hall that is being coordinated by Howard Rodgers of StopTheHOTLane.com, a StolenLanes.org coalition member. While SRTA continues to demonstrate a lack of leadership by refusing to engage the public on this issue, groups that are opposed to the implementation of HOT lanes have committed to providing a contrasting opinion and have invited a pro-HOT Lane group to speak at the meeting.
Baruch Feigenbaum is a Transportation Policy Analyst for Reason.org, a respected nonpartisan group that produces public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically-acclaimed Reason magazine. He recently authored an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution entitled "Lanes need time to show value".
Feigenbaum will speak at the upcoming Town Hall Meeting November 17th at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Reason.org believes that the I-85 HOV lane can operate successfully as a HOT lane but that there may be room for improvement in the implementation that occurred.
The following questions are being posed in advance of the Town Hall Meeting to Senator Renee Unterman, Senator Curt Thompson, and Gena L. Evans of the Georgia State Road and Toll Authority (SRTA). The intent is to be able to provide responses to the public to the most popular questions prior to the open question and answer period of the Town Hall Meeting.
Gwinnett Justice Administration Center
75 Langley Drive
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
Welcome and Ground rules for meeting – 7:00 p.m.
Acknowledgement – 7:05 p.m.
Introductions and remarks – 7:07 p.m.
SRTA/GDOT answers to questions – 7:10 p.m.
Quick break before press questions 7:55 p.m.
Press questions 8:00 p.m.
Public comments and questions 8:15 p.m.
End remarks and wrap-up 9:00 p.m.
Please note that the public questions time has been allocated to the end in order to allow more time for public questions and comments without interruption. While the meeting is scheduled to end at 9:00 there will be an allowance of extended time if necessary. This is a civil meeting and order is to be maintained at all times so that everyone has a chance to be heard.