Commissioners are also scheduled to approve the county’s fiscal year 2013 budget, which is slightly smaller than last year’s budget but includes hiring 43 people.
The $1.8 million study, conducted by Croy Engineering and others, will reveal the best transportation route to build from Acworth to Midtown, as well as the best mode of transportation to build there.
Faye DiMassimo, director of the Cobb Department of Transportation, said routes under consideration are along Cobb Parkway and Interstate 75. Modes of transportation, meantime, have included light rail, bus rapid transit and express bus service.
“It will suggest a technology like bus rapid transit or light rail or something like that,” Lee said.
But Lee said whatever is revealed this morning will by no means be the final proposal given that a $3 million “environmental study” being conducted by Kimley — Horn & Associates has to be completed as well.
“The environmental document will be complete in 18 to 24 months,” DiMassimo said.
Whatever route and mode is recommended, it’s unclear where the funding will come from to build it. There was $689 million earmarked for “enhanced premium transit service,” from Acworth to Midtown in the TSPLOST, but voters overwhelmingly voted no on that referendum on July 31.
DiMassimo said it is important to fund the AA study even though there is no money to build whatever it recommends.
“Long-range planning is an important activity for identifying transportation needs,” she said. “Any large infrastructure project requires such a step in order for it to be accomplished.”
DiMassimo said the Northwest Corridor managed lane project on I-75 is a good example of a similar effort where studies began over a decade ago and it is now only coming to fruition.
“As with other such studies, the value of the AA and environmental documentation lies in the identification of those needs and solutions so that action may be taken in the future,” she said.
Also this morning, the Board will vote on adopting its fiscal year 2013 budget. The proposed general fund budget would see a drop of 0.04 percent from the current fiscal year. A budget of $321.8 million has been proposed, which is down slightly from the $321.9 million adopted for 2012. The budget includes hiring 43 new people. The new hires, some of which are already in place, are a mixture of positions funded in the 2011 SPLOST, recommendations of the Citizens Oversight Committee and filling positions that previously lacked funding.
Lee said he hasn’t heard anyone speak about the proposed budget as he’s been out in the community. He pointed out that no one addressed the commissioners when they held a public comment hearing on the budget last week either.
“I haven’t heard a thing,” Lee said. “I don’t think it’s apathy. I think people understand we’ve been working hard to make sure we’re having a conservative budget that delivers the services that people have come to expect in the most effective and efficient way. We’re continuing to work hard with the Citizens Oversight Committee recommendations to look for ways to improve in that budget. I think there’s a level of confidence in our constituents that we’re doing the best that we can to be conservative in our budget. Consequently, there hasn’t been a lot of comments to date.”
The meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., takes place in second floor chamber room, located at 100 Cherokee St. in Marietta.