ATLANTA (AP/WAOK) – Federal authorities have denied Georgia’s request for a waiver to allow two-person carpools in a new toll system on I-85. The state had requested the waiver after repeated traffic backups in the new toll lanes on Interstate 85 in parts of Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.
U.S. Department of Transportation officials said they believe it’s too early to evaluate the effectiveness of the so-called HOT lanes. In a letter denying the request, federal authorities also said the toll rates and motorists not being familiar with the lanes may be contributing to their low use.
The waiver would have allowed more drivers to use the new lanes for free. Without the waiver, vehicles must still have three or more people to use the lanes for free.
Governor Nathan Deal requested a change in the number of people allowed per car after thousands of motorists complained that since the HOT lanes became available, the commute on I-85 was actually worse. In some cases, motorists reported their commute time doubled.