Gov. Nathan Deal in a photo from his campaign, where he said that if elected, he would get the tolls taken off of Georgia 400.
Georgia 400 Toll Plaza
ATLANTA -- The GA 400 tolls will go away in December 2013, Governor Nathan Deal announced Thursday.
Deal officially stated during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol that the GA 400 tollbooths will be taken down next year.
"This is an important step in the right direction to keeping my promise," Deal said, referring to his campaign pledge to take down the tollbooths.
The governor added that he hopes the move to keep his promise will renew the public's trust in politicians.
"It's always nice to hear that the public agrees with me and with what I've agreed to do all along," he said.
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle issued a statement shortly after Deal made his announcement.
"I was proud to stand with Governor Deal today as he boldly proclaimed that tolls on GA 400 would be removed," Cagle said in the statement. "Today's announcement is tremendous news for the Atlanta region and all who travel through our capital city."
"With what's happening in Washington these days, I understand why distrust of government is high," Cagle continued. "This news, however, shows that here in Georgia we are serious about keeping our word, being wise stewards of taxpayer dollars and delivering the world-class transportation infrastructure our state needs to compete in the 21st Century global economy."
According to the results of an exclusive 11Alive transportation poll released earlier this week, 58 percent of those surveyed said they believe the tollbooths should come down, per the State Road and Tollway Authority's promise to take them down after 20 years. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said they believe the tollbooths should stay up.
"As I have said many times before, I inherited a situation where we could not bring down the gates immediately, and we face a situation where we would have to pay a penalty for early repayment," Deal said Thursday. "Moving forward, we'll need to continue to work on long-term solutions to congestion in the 400 corridor, and I look forward to doing that in a transparent fashion that commuters can trust."
The toll was originally scheduled to come down in 2011, but in December 2010, the state issued new $40 million bonds tied to the toll revenue. The bonds will mature in June 2017, but the state can repay them without penalty after three years.
Deal's proposal to take down the tollbooths must be approved by the State Road and Tollway Authority.