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Eight of 13 DOT officials cast vote on toll
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Forsyth County News
The state Department of Transportation board voted 7-1 on Friday to extend the Ga. 400 toll until September 2020 or six months after the last payment of the bond that will be sought wih toll collections as financing.

The money will be used toward improvements on the corridor primarily between Interstates 85 and 285.

Prior to the vote, there was much discussion about whether the board actually had enough members present to vote.

Eleven representatives of the 13-member panel took part in the meeting, either by phone or in person.

Three members later hung up and did not participate in the vote. They included David Doss of District 11, Jay Shaw of District 1 and Sam Wellborn of District 3.

Steve Gooch, whose District 9 includes Forsyth County, voted yes.

Bobby Eugene Parham from District 12 was the lone vote against the measure.

Wellborn was one of the officials who wanted to postpone the decision until Oct. 1, suggesting that conducting the vote over the phone was not the best way to handle it.

He also complained the board had not been adequately informed about the proposal and wanted members to “get out of this cloak of secrecy.”

Chris Tomlinson, director of legal services for the State Road and Tollway Authority, which approved the plan later on Friday morning, told the board that SRTA had been working with DOT staff on the matter.

Tomlinson said he figured they would have shared the information with the DOT board.

Asked why the board needed to vote Friday, Tomlinson cited the calendar.

He said it was perhaps the best time of year to sell bonds and that waiting another week could make for a tight timeline closer to the holiday season.