Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dunwoody Gets Toll Road

Dunwoody scores another first! We are the first Georgia city to convert an existing road into a tollway. Following the principle established with franchise fees (I.E., having citizens pay again for something they've already paid for), the Dunwoody Police Department has converted top end I-285 into a toll road.

The chief has established a Revenue Enhancement Division(RED) chartered with the goal of extracting money from non-residents in a dual effort to "bring in significant dollars" while minimizing political backlash. While no one in an official capacity would comment on the record, word on the street is that members of the RED squad are called the Toll 'Trolls.

And Trolls they are.

Anyone venturing outside Dunwoody has probably encountered one of many bewildered if not angry interlopers caught in the DPD web of success. The conversation generally goes like this: "What's up with Dunwoody, eh? I can drive twenty over the limit on Chamblee Dunwoody or Roberts--in a school zone fercrissakes--but I'm just keeping up with traffic on 285 and I get pulled. Are they nuts?"

Unsubstantiated reports indicate that an inordinate number of those paying the Toll 'Trolls are Cobblodites. While they are widely known to be the worst drivers on the planet, some even say the county sticker is redundant, in many cases they have not been observed doing anything out of the ordinary. It may just be that their reputation as horrible drivers suggests they are accustomed to receiving citations thereby making them easy targets. No one at the DPD would either confirm or deny the practice geopolitical profiling, but one individual was overheard joking "we don't profile that way".

Proposals to enhance revenue and reduce costs by entering into IGAs with neighboring communities so that Dunwoody receives direct payment from other municipalities are in the works. This would reduce the need for the 'Trolls, which will remain in place until the IGAs are finalized. There is another effort to investigate the availability of stimulus funds for the toll collections. Other federal grants have already been investigated but these required that the city provide some level of matching funds thereby reducing the net benefit. Off the record the city has made it clear that "this must be one hundred and ten percent other people's money."

In any event, the effort to obtain revenue from those residing outside Dunwoody is a success that is only going to get better.