Q&A with the First GA 400 Toll Customers, Linda and Mike WeinrothPosted Nov 22, 2013 by Bert Brantley, Deputy Executive Director
Twenty years ago, Linda and Mike Weinroth made history as the first customers of the GA 400 toll way. We sat down with them to learn a little more about that day and what the GA 400 extension has meant to them.
Q: How did you end up on GA 400 on August 1, 1993?
Mike: Well, we lived near GA 400 and followed news of the construction throughout the process. We were both really excited for the road to be finished. A couple of weeks before opening day, my wife Linda and I participated in the 5K Race on the toll way. August 1 is my birthday, and that morning I said, “Do you know what I want to do for my birthday?” Linda replied, “Yes, you want to go on GA 400.”
Q: Did you have any idea you’d be the first customer?
Linda: We had no clue! We thought for sure other people had already gone through the tolls.
Mike: When we merged onto the highway, I noticed no one was in front of us, but quite a few people were behind us. We pulled up to the toll booth and threw our 50 cents in the basket. Photographers were standing on either side of us and one snapped our picture and said, “You’re the first customers!”
Q: Did you know there would be such a reaction afterward?
Linda: No. The morning after opening day, we took an early morning walk and while we were out, picked up a copy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. When we got home, we looked and we were on the front page!
Mike: Our phone was ringing off the hook afterward. I even got a phone call from an old college professor. He said, “Weinroth, you’re on the front page of the newspaper. How did you manage that?” It was an exciting time.
Q: I understand you participated in today’s closing ceremony with Governor Deal. How does it feel to be the first and last people to drive through the GA 400 tolls?
Mike: It’s been a great ride. The explosion of growth around the road has been staggering – just another example of progress. GA 400 has been such a convenience for us over the years, connecting us to the airport; making it easy to have a nice dinner in Buckhead.
We participated in the original 5K 20 years ago and we participated in last week’s road race too. We paid the first 50 cents and now we’re the last people to use the toll. Today was like reliving history.