Construction of a $2 billion high-capacity transit system from Acworth to Midtown Atlanta via Cumberland tops the list of proposed projects Cobb County officials hope to fund should a regional sales tax meet with the approval of voters in the summer of 2012.
officials held an open house Monday in the at 100 Cherokee St. to unveil a wish list of projects.
Since last summer, county transportation officials have touted the benefits of a light rail system that generally runs along U.S. 41 from Acworth through Marietta and into the Cumberland district and then onwards to the MARTA Arts Center Station.
The county is currently undergoing an alternatives analysis, a federally required study to explore various modes of traffic and routes. Although the county leans toward light rail, it is also studying bus rapid transit along Interstate 75, for example.
Other major projects related to the Smyrna-Vinings area include a $23.4 million trails project to connect the Chattahoochee River trail system with that of Kennesaw Mountain, a $230 million six-lane widening project of Cobb Parkway from Paces Mill Road to North Marietta Parkway, completion and upgrade of the Windy Hill-Macland Road corridor at a cost of about $200 million and $33.9 million to replace buses for Cobb Community Transit.
A complete draft project list for Cobb accompanies this story.
The Regional Sales Tax proposal–also nicknamed TSPLOST–stems from the Georgia Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which created 12 regions across Georgia and empowered each of them to collect funding for transportation projects through a 1 percent sales tax. Each region may hold an election during the summer of 2012 to allow residents to vote on a slate of projects that would be funded with 10 years of the sales tax.
Cobb County is part of the Atlanta Regional Roundtable which includes Cherokee, Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as their municipalities.
If passed, the tax could generate between $7 billion and $8 billion in revenue for the 10-county region through 2022. The money would be spent on such project categories as roadway capital, roadway and bridge maintenance, safety and traffic operations, freight and logistics, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, transit capital and transit operations and maintenance.
The county has a March 30 deadline to submit its list of desired projects to the Georgia Department of Transportation. Cobb County’s current list includes about $3.2 billion worth of projects.
Larry Stokes Jr., a Cobb transportation planner, said the project list highlights some of the most critical and needed transportation innovations and improvements for the county over the next 10 years.
Asked if Cobb residents might be “SPLOST-out” after the Stokes said: “If you want these improvements, you want to pass it.”
“Cobb County residents did us a favor and passed the SPLOST,” he said. “That stage has passed. Now the next stage is the region.”