Morning Reads – Thursday, November 19, 2015

On this day in 1863, President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania.


Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea



  1. Andrew C. Pope says:

    Sen. Cruz, a man whose career has been built off of insulting President Obama, is mad that President Obama said something mean about him? Grow a pair, loser.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    The Q&A column in today’s AJC concerned the recent record maximum $12 toll to use the full length of the southbound I-85 HOT lane. It stated the one-hour average speed in the HOT lane at the time of the maximum toll was 42mph, while the general purpose lane average speed was 32mph.

    Travel time for 16 miles at 42mph is nearly 23 minutes. Travel time at 32mph is 30 minutes. Tollpayers paid $100/hr for their 7+ minute travel time savings based on the average speeds.

    The economics are so good that tens of millions more in subsidies should be poured into HOT lanes.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        Contrary to my often snarky remarks about HOT lanes, I support them when they largely pay their way.

        The math above is straight up, but the $100/hr result is an overstatement of the value. Peak traffic typically occurs in a smaller window than an hour. The general lane 32mph speed average over an hour is an overstatement of speed for that at the time of the toll—the $12 toll likely wasn’t in effect for an hour.

        An aside, some road users may not realize the toll lanes are twice the deal with two person instead of one in the vehicle. A say $10 toll to save 15 minutes drive time values the time of those in the two person vehicle at $20/hr instead of the $40/hr of the time of a single person vehicle.

    • saltycracker says:

      It’s folks with discretionary money getting themselves and Clark Howard fans to work faster. Or should we tax everyone equally and build no toll roads ?

      • TheEiger says:

        There is nothing wrong with toll roads or lanes. What is wrong about the 85 HOT lanes is that it took existing capacity and decreased it by restring who can get into the lanes. It doesn’t help traffic overall. Just the people willing to pay money. The reversible flyways on 75 and 575 are what we should be doing. It increases capacity.

        • Andrew C. Pope says:

          This. DC has separate, dedicated HOT lanes. They’re multi-lane, too, which means you don’t have to get stuck behind a slow driver, an occurrence that happens to me on 85 far too frequently.

        • Will Durant says:

          The fact the price ratchets up due to the speed, or rather lack thereof in the lane totally invalidates the barrierless system employed on 85. Regardless of whether the lane was previously HOV or not. I defy anyone to drive 65mph when the adjacent lane is a 0-5mph and your only separation is a painted line.

          Traffic in the regular lanes slows => traffic in the unprotected HOT lane slows => rate goes up.

          HOT lanes with barriers were just a way that made adding bus lanes to interstates palatable to a Republican administration. 85 through Gwinnett was a slipshod way to get a toe in the door here in Georgia.

          • Dave Bearse says:

            The I-85 HOT lane target speed is 45mph—tolls vary from virtually nothing (a few pennies a mile) to low until there’s a significant time savings using the HOT lane at 45mph. Even 45mph can be hazardous if the adjacent lane is operating at single digit speed.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          There is something wrong with toll lanes that don’t come close to recovering their capital cost.

          Consider the I-75 toll lanes in Cobb County. For simplicity of explanation, say the toll revenues recover the cost of toll lane operation and maintenance, i.e. moving barriers twice daily, minor repairs, administration/cost of collecting tolls, monitoring traffic and setting tolls, etc.

          The amortization cost of the lane’s $840M capital expense at 3.5% over say 40 years is $9.6M / yr. The toll lanes capital expense is a subsidy of the toll lane users by general lane users if the toll lanes don’t generate $9.6M /yr in travel time savings to general lane users.

          $9.6M in travel time savings at $15/hr is a reduction of 640,000 hrs / year. 640,000 hrs / yr translates to 2,400 hrs per weekday. Will there be that much time savings? I don’t know.

      • mpierce says:

        I like the idea of toll lanes, but I would rather tax everyone equally than build toll roads which operate at a loss.

        • saltycracker says:

          Wouldn’t that cost jobs, admin, hardware, fine revenue….? But I’m with you providing it is a consumption tax, not income or property.

          • mpierce says:

            It cost $10M in expenses to bring in $8M in revenue (FY14) with no increased capacity. It doesn’t seen like a very effective way dealing with traffic or funding transportation needs.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        I better describe myself an avid reader of the AJC. I think there’s a little slant in some of the local coverage (more perhaps in what is covered than how it’s covered), but it’s a superior newspaper. Not that I travel a lot, but I closely read local newspapers when I’m out of town.

  3. gcp says:

    An execution tonight and we hear nothing from death penalty opponents? Will we have reporters writing breathless, play by play accounts of the execution? The last execution was not so quiet.

  4. chefdavid says:

    So Craft breweries are hurt once again. It shouldn’t be suprising with the amount of campaign money the distributors give to senators and reps. Funny thing is that I thought we were suppose to be for more free markets and less government regulation. This seems to not be the case if somebody is giving you campaign money.

    • Feeling the Bern says:

      I have to deal with those distributors. I detest the stranglehold they have on the free market. You only get half way decent service from them if you order a lot at a time. Like Ted’s Montana Grill.

      I’ve got one rep out of 7 that is worth his salt.

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