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$1.8M study recommends bus system Cobb County can't afford

5:31 PM, Sep 11, 2012   |    comments
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MARIETTA, Ga. - A $1.8 million study on improving traffic in Cobb County is in, but there's no money in the budget to complete the project cited in the study.

The study recommends that Cobb County utilize a rapid transit bus system to improve traffic in the I-75 corridor. A rapid transit bus is larger than a typical bus and would utilize fixed bus lanes to get through traffic quickly.

The study considered, among other things, cost and a commuter survey to rank the bus project as the best way to relieve congestion. The bus system would cost Cobb County just under $1.1 billion.

Cobb has the study, but doesn't have the money to complete the project.

"We have a successful history in Cobb of readying projects so they're on the shelf and ready to go when funding opportunities do come along," said Cobb DOT Director Faye DiMassimo. "We don't have an estimate as to when funds may be available."

The rapid transit bus system would travel between Kennesaw State University and midtown Atlanta. Fixed guideway bus lanes in the center median of Highway 41 would take the buses between Kennesaw and Aikers Mill Road, where the buses would head east to I-75. The buses would use HOV lanes on the interstate to connect to midtown Atlanta.

You can read more about the study on the Cobb Department of Transportation web site.

The county had hoped to fun the project with proceeds from the regional transportation sales tax that voters shot down.

Related: $3 million Cobb County environmental study

In addition to the $1.8 million study to identify the best transportation project, Cobb County is also spending $3 million on an environmental study that would be necessary before the project could begin.

Money for the studies comes from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Cobb's commission chairman says the county is looking to federal money, or possibly a public-private partnership to get the project done. He insists the studies need to be done now.

"It's better to do it now so it will be on the shelf ready to go as we work to figure out the best way to implement it," said Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee. "You have to start somewhere, and with any project you have to be able to move forward with a plan that outlines what your goals and objectives are."

The environmental study could take as long as two years.

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