Governor's Office responds about GA 400 tolls promise

7:38 AM, Jun 27, 2012   |    comments
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Georgia 400 Toll Plaza

ATLANTA -- With renewed calls for Governor Nathan Deal to keep his campaign promise and remove the tolls on Georgia 400, his office has said that his hands are tied.

Gov. Deal is vacationing this week, but 11Alive's Duffie Dixon sat down with his spokesperson, Brian Robinson.

"I think people of Georgia know the governor can't break contracts," Robinson said. "They know what happened was not his decision, and it's not what he would have wanted." 

Robinson is referring to the decision that was made just weeks before Deal took office to extend the life of the tolls. Former Governor Sonny Perdue and the other board members of the State Road and Tollway Authority voted to take out an estimated $40 million in bonds to pay for improvement projects along the corridor. 

As it stands now, SRTA says the tolls will stay in place until 2017 when the bonds are paid off.

"As far as we've been told, we don't have the option of paying off the bonds early, and if we were to break that contract, the state could lose its favorable bond rating," Robinson said.

Still, Robinson said the governor is still set on trying to remove those tolls as soon as possible and said if the money were available to cover all the slated improvements it would be worth looking into the legality of paying it off early.

RELATED | 50-cent GA 400 toll adds up fast: Enough to end it now?

"As soon as we have the money in hand to pay off the bonds then the toll gates need to come down," Robinson said. "That's what Gov. Deal wants. He wants them to come down as soon as possible."

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