The state of Georgia is making a toll-free call.
On Thursday, June 16, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced that it would not allow tolls to be charged on existing roadways, following months of public outcry against the idea.
According to the new policy, tolls can still be implemented on lanes that are built in the future. However, all current expressways will be kept free from toll charges.
“For the first time, this lets the private sector know the preference of the board,” DOT Chairperson David Doss told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They won’t have to guess anymore.”
The DOT move stands in direct opposition to several proposals made by three separate private companies to solve the state’s transportation financial woes. According to the Journal-Constitution, private groups previously proposed government partnerships on Interstate 285 and state roads 316 and 400 that would have used tolls to pay for improvements.
But strong public reaction halted the plans in their tracks. Voices from state residents and lawmakers convinced the DOT to put the toll proposals on hold indefinitely, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported.
The state’s General Assembly approved a measure more than two years ago that allowed the DOT to partner with private companies for road construction projects.