I-85 toll usage jumps

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I-85 toll usage jumps

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This file photo shows the I-85 HOT lane in Gwinnett County. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

The number of motorists using the express toll lanes on I-85 northeast of Atlanta jumped by 19.6 percent in 2015, ranking the state fourth in toll-usage gains of 31 toll road authorities nationwide, a trade association reports.

Ahead of Georgia were North Carolina and Tampa/Hillsborough County, Fla., both with a 25 percent increase, and the Austin, Texas, area, up 23.4 percent. Overall tollway usage rose by 7 percent around the country, a “record-breaking” rate of growth with systems in the South and West leading the way with double-digit gains, according to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

The Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority operates one toll highway in the metro Atlanta, the I-85 high-occupancy toll express lanes, which opened in 2011.

“The growth has been steady and continues to grow. People are finding true value in the I-85 express lanes,” said Christopher Tomlinson, tollway authority executive director. Additional toll lanes are under construction on I-75/I-575 northwest of the city and on I-75 south of the city.

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