Here’s What You Need to Know:
The State Road and Tollway Authority’s (SRTA) Board of Directors has approved uniform toll rate pricing rules that apply to all Georgia Express Lanes.
The minimum toll rate will be $0.10 per mile for all express lanes. Customers can also expect toll rates above the $0.10 per mile minimum to vary based on travel conditions at each express lane facility rather than a predetermined max rate. During periods of very low demand, per mile toll rates on an express lane facility may be replaced with a fixed toll of $0.50 per trip, regardless of the length of the trip.
“For the ease of customer use and a consistent customer experience on Georgia Express Lanes, we have established a uniform approach to toll rate pricing,” Chris Tomlinson, SRTA Executive Director, said. “The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes join the I-85 Express Lanes and the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes, as well as future tolled express lane projects in improving the commuting experience of Georgia residents and others who drive in our state. We encourage commuters in the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes to open a Peach Pass account today so they can take advantage of the lanes once they open.’
The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes are reversible toll lanes that run along I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties. The 29.7 miles of dynamically priced lanes are separated from the general purposes lanes by an elevated bridge or concrete barrier and a series of gates, offering the highest level of safety. These lanes will add new highway capacity in addition to the existing general-purpose lanes. The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes will flow toward Atlanta during the morning commute and away from Atlanta during the evening commute. The new Express Lanes are scheduled to open in late summer.
The actual toll charge that a customer traveling on the Georgia Express Lanes will pay will be set using dynamic pricing methodology. Technology allows the tolls to adjust based on demand and traffic conditions in the corridor in order to maintain free-flow travel and reliable trips through the lanes. Toll prices will be clearly displayed on overhead highway signs along the corridor so that motorists will know the price before entering the lanes.
All vehicles are required to have a Peach Pass (or a valid interoperable toll pass from Florida or North Carolina) in order to use the new Northwest Corridor Express Lanes and only registered public transit buses and registered emergency response vehicles can use the lanes toll free. Motorists are encouraged to open their Peach Pass accounts now, and people wishing to open an account or learn more about the lanes can do so at www.peachpass.com.
SRTA Toll Pricing Q&A
Why did the SRTA Board of Directors recently set uniform toll rate pricing for the Georgia Express Lanes?
The change brings a uniform approach to tolling, simplifies toll setting and helps our customers who choose Express Lanes better understand their mobility options.
Previously, the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes and the I-85 Express Lanes each had differing toll rate pricing structures increasing the likelihood of confusion among users.
The new policy provides SRTA with more flexibility in managing congestion on the lanes. The per mile rate will increase and decrease dynamically based on traffic conditions, including the level of congestion in the lanes and the surrounding corridor, performance management targets for the lane and any debt service needs of the facility.
What lanes are impacted by the uniform toll pricing?
The policy applies to existing Express Lanes (I-85 Express Lanes and the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes) as well as to any future Express Lanes, including the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes and the I-85 Extension Express Lanes scheduled to open later this year.
What is the specific pricing?
The Board set a uniform minimum per mile toll rate of $0.10 per mile. During periods of very low demand, SRTA has the authority to suspend the per mile minimum toll rate in favor of a flat toll charge of no less than $0.50 per trip.
Rates greater than the uniform minimum toll rate will be set and managed by SRTA for each Georgia Express lane, according to the lane’s levels of congestion, individual demand management needs and debt service requirements (if any).
The chart below reflects the changes that will go into effect on Aug. 20, 2018.
When does the revised pricing structure go into effect?
Changes will begin implementation on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018.
How does this differ from earlier pricing?
Prior to this policy change, for I-75 South Metro, the minimum toll rate was $0.10 per mile, with a maximum toll rate of $0.90 per mile and an off-peak flat toll rate of $0.50 per trip.
For I-85 Express, the minimum toll rate was $0.01 per mile, the maximum toll rate with no per mile maximum but with a $13.95 per trip maximum. I-85 did not have an off-peak flat toll rate.
How often did the lanes reach the maximum toll under the previous pricing?
The toll on I-75 South Metro Express Lanes has never reached the $0.90 per mile level and is not anticipated to do so anytime soon. The toll on the I-85 Express Lanes reaches the max of $13.95 most weekdays during peak hours.
How often have toll rates been raised?
Toll pricing in the state is set by the SRTA Board of Directors. Since the I-85 Express Lanes opened in 2011 followed by the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes in 2017, the Board has established or adjusted rates four times.
The toll rates for the I-85 Express Lanes were initially set by the SRTA Board of Directors in June 2011. The initial range of rates were set from $0.10 to $0.90 per mile, allowing the Executive Director of SRTA to set a rate outside of the initial range if conditions warranted.
In 2012, the Board adjusted rates based on additional capacity on the I-85 lanes during non-peak periods of travel. At that time, the Board decreased the lowest rate to $0.01 per mile from $0.10 per mile.
In 2016, the Board authorized SRTA to increase the toll rates for a single trip on all or a portion of I-85 up to $13.95, based on congestion and demand. This was done to bring the I-85 Express Lanes into compliance with the Federal Performance Standard.
The rates for the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes were set in 2016 with a range of $0.10 to $0.90 per mile, providing that in no event will a toll be charged of less than $0.50.
The 2016 action was the last change prior to the Board’s vote in August 2018.
Who makes decisions on toll rates?
Toll rates are set by SRTA’s Board of Directors. The actual per mile rates charged are determined by the volume of traffic using the lanes at any given time.
How is the toll for individual drivers determined?
The actual toll that a customer traveling on the Georgia Express Lanes will pay is set using dynamic pricing methodology. Technology allows the tolls to adjust based on demand and traffic conditions in the corridor. The rates increase and decrease to maximum throughput in the lane while maintaining a reliable trip time for users. Toll prices will be clearly displayed on overhead highway signs along the corridor so that motorists will know the price before entering the lanes.
How are tolls collected?
Tolls on the Georgia Express Lanes are collected electronically through the Peach Pass tolling device. The Peach Pass is a small electronic transponder (sticker) that is connected to a Peach Pass customer’s debit or credit card. It can be installed on a vehicle windshield, a bumper or the front headlamp. Use of this innovative technology allows drivers to maintain highway speeds instead of slowing down or stopping at a toll booth.
What is SRTA’s role with the Georgia Express Lanes?
SRTA oversees implementation and operation of tolled managed lanes. Since 1953, SRTA has served as the transportation financing arm for the state. SRTA has enabled user fees to be directed to important mobility channels, including the original Sidney Lanier Bridge over the Brunswick River, the F.J. Torras Causeway gateway to the St. Simons community and the GA 400 Extension.
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