The Cobb Board of Commissioners were briefed on the progress of a transit alternatives analysis presented by Connect Cobb, a project of the Cobb County Department of Transportation, during their Tuesday morning meeting in Marietta.
The $1.8 million study, performed principally by Croy Engineering, looked at the best possible ways to establish a mass transit conduit from Acworth to Midtown.
The presentation outlined several different mass-transit scenarios, including light rail, express service in HOV or managed lanes on Interstate 75, and bus rapid transit.
All proposals have the goal of extending rapid transit options from Cobb to the existing mass transit systems inside Atlanta. Cities involved in the new transit lines would include Kennesaw, Acworth, Marietta and Smyrna. Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University would also get stations on the new route.
The Locally Preferred Alternative plan would consist of an arterial bus rapid transit line on U.S. 41 and an express bus in the proposed I-75 managed lanes. There would be feeder routes to provide localized access to the system along the route.
Connect Cobb projects the economic impact of the plan to be significant by spurring the creation of 1.2 million square feet of new retail space, 11,000 new housing units, and the creation of more than 50,000 area jobs.
What remains to be seen is how any proposed project would be funded. There was a $689 million earmark for an Acworth-to-Midtown transit service in the , but no other alternative funding methods have been suggested.
Additionally, the county is awaiting the results of a $3 million environmental study being conducted by Kimley-Horn & Associates, which will not be ready for another 18 to 24 months, Cobb DOT Director Faye DiMassimo told the Marietta Daily-Journal.
“Long-range planning is an important activity for identifying transportation needs,” she told the MDJ. “Any large infrastructure project requires such a step in order for it to be accomplished.”