There is no single budget from which all types of projects are funded, and budgets are typically allocated for specific needs by the state legislature. Accordingly, funds used by GDOT for Georgia Express Lanes do not come from a budget that would be otherwise earmarked for transit. However, GDOT supports transit and works with transit agencies throughout the region to improve transit options. The Georgia Express Lanes system is an investment that enhances transit options and opportunities in the corridor. Dedicated express lanes offer more reliable trip times to transit riders at no additional cost and greater predictability for transit operators. Improved service along these corridors makes transit a more attractive alternative, which can help reduce the number of vehicles on those routes. GDOT, via the Georgia Express Lanes network, is providing greater reliability, expanding growth opportunities, and enhancing connectivity for the region’s transit systems. Regional transit providers are expanding park-and-rides in express lanes corridors and considering additional service in order to accommodate the ridership demand.
As a dynamically priced system, the Georgia Express Lanes are offered as a choice that complements the general purpose lanes along the interstates in some of the most congested corridors around metro Atlanta. These lanes provide a choice for drivers to bypass congestion when desired, offer a clear path for transit operators, and add an alternative to the general purpose lanes that exist today. The result will be a network of express lanes that provide more reliable and predictable trip times. All Georgia Express Lanes rely on a dynamically-priced toll in order to provide reliable travel times especially during peak congestion.
Studies show that express lanes have a much more reliable travel speed than carpool lanes and provide more consistent performance over time.
Rates on any express lane are based on a dynamic pricing format, which increases the price during peak travel times and decreases the price during off-peak times. Dynamic pricing facilitates reliable trip times for those utilizing the express lanes including those in transit vehicles. Dynamic pricing allows as many motorists as possible to use the lanes while still meeting expectations for free-flowing traffic.
State-registered transit vehicles, vanpools, and emergency management services (EMS) are the only vehicles that can ride toll-exempt on the express lanes. State-registered alternative fuel vehicles, motorcycles, and all carpools must pay the toll on the SR 400 Express Lanes.