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Evans cancels HOT lane talk in Gainesville
Tollway official had been set to speak Tuesday at transportation meeting
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Gena Evans, executive director with the State Road and Tollway Authority, has canceled an appearance in Gainesville Tuesday to talk about the new toll lanes on Interstate 85.

Evans was scheduled to speak to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization's Policy Committee, which is still set to meet at 10 a.m. in the Georgia Mountains Center.

The committee holds quarterly meetings to discuss and vote on key transportation issues.

Instead, at that time, Evans will be giving an update on the project to Gov. Nathan Deal, said Malika Wilkins, spokeswoman for the authority.

Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall MPO, has said he invited Evans in August to the November meeting.

He contacted her before the state's new high-occupancy toll, or HOT, lanes opened Oct. 1. Since then, the new lanes have been met with widespread disapproval and anger.

The biggest complaint is that the new lanes have few users and, as a result, motorists are clogging up the regular lanes, causing more congestion than was previously there with high-occupancy vehicle, or carpooling, lanes.

One HOT lane runs in each direction between Old Peachtree Road in Gwinnett County and Chamblee-Tucker Road in DeKalb County.

Under the new, federally funded system, all HOT lane motorists must have a Peach Pass, an electronic decal that monitors their travel.

Three or more in a car can ride for free, as well as motorcyclists and alternative-fuel vehicle motorists.

All others must pay a toll based on the level of congestion at the time they enter the HOT lane.

Deal, who lowered the tolls soon after the lanes opened, has said if the project fails, it could endanger plans for toll lanes on other metro Atlanta highways.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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