The were briefed on the progress of a transit alternatives analysis presented by Connect Cobb, a project of the , 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 the MARTA Arts Center Station in Midtown.
The presentation outlined several different mass-transit scenarios, including light rail, express service in HOV or managed lanes on Interstate 75, and a bus rapid transit (BRT) proposal.
All proposals have the goal of extending rapid transit options from Cobb County to the existing mass transit systems inside Atlanta. Cities involved in the new transit lines would include Kennesaw, Acworth, Marietta and Smyrna. and 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 their $1.1 billion bus system plan to be significant; the group believes the transportation initiative would spur the creation of 1.2 million sq. ft. of new retail space, 11,000 new housing units, and the creation of over 50,000 jobs in the area.
There currently is bus service offered between Midtown and the Cumberland area and beyond, but as a Midtown resident, would you like see an express bus service to Cobb County become a reality? Would you use it?
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. Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott called the proposed bus system “a pipe dream.”
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, said Cobb DOT Director Faye DiMassimo to The Marietta Daily-Journal.
“Long-range planning is an important activity for identifying transportation needs,” she said to the MDJ. “Any large infrastructure project requires such a step in order for it to be accomplished.”