County to see $1.8M transit study results
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
September 11, 2012 12:49 AM | 4203 views | 28 28 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Motorists travel on I-75N as I-285W merges at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday in June.
Motorists travel on I-75N as I-285W merges at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday in June.
slideshow
MARIETTA — The Cobb Board of Commissioners will get what county chairman Tim Lee described as a first peek at the results of its Northwest Corridor Alternatives Analysis study at its meeting this morning.

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.

Comments
(28)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
MARTA Supporter
|
September 11, 2012
Cobb you folks are crazy. First, you complain about a study that is needed to come up with alternatives to that mess you see in the picture. But you say there is no money even though Cobb was one of the main counties to vote down the T-SPLOST. The feds would've seen 700 million as a serious investment and made the Cobb line a serious contender for fed money to build the rail to Acworth, which was about 2 billion.

No, you voted it down because "The Beltline" wasn't regional enough. So I guess having a train bring you to Midtown and downtown was fine but having rail to move you around the city was just dumb. Can you folks now see the connection on why it was regional? Probably not.

You all do support reversable lanes that just bring more cars to the roads. Enjoy your reversable TOLL lanes cause that is what they will end up being. If you look at the picture you could easily close the 2 inner lanes and slap a rail line right there and push the intersate over a lane or two and still have the same amount you do now AND give Cobb an alternative to just the express buses CCT current runs to ATL. You could have MARTA trains and bus rapid transit but instead you down MARTA and just run crappy CCT and connect it to MARTA anyway. Don't you know the criminals know how to transfer from MARTA to CCT?

I guess they are smarter than Cobb folks now!!
URKiddingRight?
|
September 11, 2012
@ MARTA supporter

Do you actually think that the dysfunctional, mismanaged and financially bankrupt MARTA system is a realistic solution?

The Beltline was a local project that should have been funded with local City of Atlanta dollars. It connected to intown neighborhoods, not employment centers.

The light rail from Cumberland to the Arts Center was an Atlanta project that should have been funded with Atlanta TSPLOST dollars not Cobb.

Cumberland to Kennesaw would have been a good project for Cobb.

It is not the concept of rail transit that gives Cobb citizens heartburn it was where it was being proposed and how it was being financed.

Don't expect Cobb or any other suburban county to come to MARTA's aid as long as it stays they way it is. It is a financial black hole.

MARTA Supporter
|
September 11, 2012
@ Mr or Mrs Marta and Cobb resident

First, Fulton didn't vote it down by over 70%.

Second, the reason it was voted down is because just like OTP people don't want pay for intown projects, ITP folks don't want to pay for your roads. Most felt like there wasn't enough rail projects and voted it down.
MARTA Supporter
|
September 11, 2012
@ anonymous

This is how uninformed you are: only 5 miles? I guess the other 17 miles you are just unaware of since it is a 22 mile loop.

And it actually goes thru very nice and revitalized areas and has even attracted attention for redevelopment on the "crack" areas as you call it just off of the promise that it will be there.

So while the 45 intown areas will continue to redevelop and thrive, Cobb will keep the traffic headaches and loose young, talented, and educated professionals to ATL. Sounds like a win win for the A Town!
MARTA Supporter
|
September 11, 2012
@ FROM TEXAS

As usual some ignorant racist has to make a comment. Why don't you and your wife slash sister go back to Texas with the dumbness.
MARTA Supporter
|
September 11, 2012
@ Pat H

Actually it's very easy to transfer between the two systems thanks to the Breeze card. It's a MARTA card that the smarts folks of Cobb and CCT, who so want to keep the element out, have adobted and use.

Oh, and don't forget the most heavily used route in the southeast, CCT route 10 with direct connection to MARTA 6 days a week. I guess y'all are safe on Sunday huh?
MARTA Supporter
|
September 11, 2012
@ URKiddingRight

MARTA is far from dysfunctional and mismanaged. Dr. Scott has done an amazing job keeping the agency running with limited resourse and constraints that no other transit system in the US have to deal with.

The Beltline does connect intown neighborhoods but not everyone traveling coming into the city is going to an employment center. Some are going other areas than downtown, Midtown,and Buckhead.

Tell me how light rail from Kennesaw to Cumberland would have done anything to relieve traffic? And it's funny cause you want ATL to pay for the Midtown to Cumberland but it is fine to have the Kennesaw to Cumberland line funded by the T SPLOST. Now that is a LOCAL project.

What Cobb didn't realize is that both of the lines above would have eventually been ONE line that actually connect to MARTA and the Beltline, again making it REGIONAL. Also there was 689 million earmarked for a 2 billion total rail line. Over 10 years it is definitely possible the feds would have invested in the line to almost pay for the whole thing. Maybe even having Cobb pay for MARTA, that benefits the entire region economically (the entire state for that matter) and had even more money.

Unfortunately the short sightedness of Cobb will keep them behind in the times and plagued with traffic coming into the city that they seem to hate the most. By the way, looks like Clayton is ready for MARTA and probably will vote yes in 2014 and Gwinnett is about 50/50. See you in the rear view Cobb!
Watcher...
|
September 11, 2012
MARTA will soon be controlled by Governor Deal and the General Assembly!
anonymous
|
September 11, 2012
By the way how can you waste 602 millon dollars five miles of the Beltline for Atlanta? That was in the hand outs 602 million dollars for five Crack Dealer Beltline!!
Cobb resident
|
September 11, 2012
The Splost that I voted down had already taken out the rail all together. In other words, rail was never a real option from Acworth or Cumberland. Most of the people in Cobb do not work downtown and are not willing to take trains which increase their commute.

To the Marta supporter. Fulton and Dekalb voters also voted down the Splost so you may want to spend time reading their newspapers and keep your comments out of ours.
Mr or Mrs Marta
|
September 11, 2012
I think you may be confused in that Cobb was one of the main counties to turn the SPLOT down.

Cobb like most of the regional counties including FULTON, shot down the SPLOT at over 70% against. I believe only a few counties in more of central Georgia actually voted for it. Now if the beltline and light was so great, why did Fulton County voters vote overwhelmingly against it?
FROM TEXAS
|
September 11, 2012
Police investigating a shooting at Kensington Station hope no one else was shot doesn’t sound too safe to Cobb county citizens, I guess we aren’t enlightened enough for the likes of you.

MARTA ticket vending machines still were not accepting debit cards Thursday, as the transit agency continued to test a software fix for the problem.

I think Marta is just what we need that way I can give you $12.00 ride for $2.50 we can have more unwed mothers move into Cobb on EBT card and section eight housing. If I wanted the Rust Belt I’d move there, we aren’t interested in all these Carpet Bagging ideas. We like a green yard, deck and the wild life you want to kill. They Paved over Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot!!

Pat H
|
September 11, 2012
It is much more difficult for an Atlanta thief to wait on the CCT bus and transfer to MARTA while carrying the loot.

Pants hanging low and a hoodie will help identify the thug vs the commuter going to work.
URKiddingRight
|
September 12, 2012
@MARTA Supporter

You miss my point Atlanta builds the line from Arts Center to Cumberland with its' TSPLOST dollars. Cobb takes it from there to Kennesaw with its' TSPLOST allocation.

That is a regional transit project. It serves a congested corridor and ties into an existing regional system.

The Beltline is a local trolley that's all it is no matter how you try to justify it in your own mind. Therefore it should be built with local dollars.

What happened to the TAD dollars that were allocated to help build that project? Obviously some of it was spent on personal gifts of champagne and expensive lunches and retreats for staff members and their spouses?

As far as MARTA being a well run organization is concerned I am afraid you are delusional in that ridiculous contention.

All you have to do is look at something as simple as the inability of the system to accept debit cards to see how incredibly incompetent the employees and management of MARTA can be.

Extrapolate that to the management and operation of the system as a whole and it's quite obvious where the problem resides.
TIC
|
September 11, 2012
This is all DiMassimo knows how to do. Spend money on studies and plans. Not surprising since she is not even an engineer.

She has not had an original thought or idea regarding transportation solutions since she came on board for Cobb County.

Cobb recently had an opportunity to get some federal dollars for road improvements, but her "future planning" mantra did not seem to apply in that case.

If Tim Lee had any sense at all he would put somebody in charge of the Cobb DOT that at least has a clue of what to do.

SG68
|
September 11, 2012
This is not about future planning.

It is about cronyism and creating work for well connected consulting firms who in turn reward those who dumped the money at their feet.

A typical "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" scenario.

The studies being done now will not be applicable if and when funding for the project (whatever it is) finally materializes.

The situation will have changed and undoubtably will have to be re-studied once again.

Environmental Impact Statements have a finite shelf life and are only good for a defined amount of time after they are finished. Then they are deemed not applicable, because conditions have changed, and have to be redone.

This is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

DiMassimo knows it, Lee knows it.

Funding Svengali
|
September 11, 2012
The sickening part is that these people in charge of our tax money absolutely LIVE for the sole purpose of seeking federal funding. These studies are required for the federal funds and their rules, established by the multi-billion dollar transit industry, make such studies into perversions of rational thought.

The result is ALWAYS the same: it must be a technology which has been done in the past, requiring federal funding (and therefore control via the ARC). This arrangement is very similar to the relationship of a crack dealer and his junkies!

When a true LEADER steps up and declares 'enough is enough', we'll get a real traffic congestion solution, without federal dollars or additional taxation!
Timus
|
September 11, 2012
Ummm how? I guess we are just going to find a few billion dollars lying around on the street. And even THEN you'll have a problem with fixing transit!! A "TRUE" leader is going to be the one to make the decision to do something that's going to fix the traffic and allow for economic growth even though it doesn't please everyone. That's why we have SPLOST votes. We only want the taxes to be temporary but we can't even agree on that!
Funding Svengali
|
September 13, 2012
@Timus -

The answer? TRUE competition on performance and financials. Right now, there is no competition on either.

Leadership means being willing to do what's right, not just make unpopular decisions. People want a solution, not to be railroaded by big money.
Watcher...
|
September 11, 2012
Commissar Tim,

You have no Budget comments because people know that you DO NOT listen well!

We do not want you to just improve the Budget,, we want you to drastically CUT the Budget!
Really!?!
|
September 11, 2012
So in total, $4.8 million is being spent on studies for projects that cannot be funded?

I have to re-read my own words, $4.8 MILLION DOLLARS for two studies that will tell us we have traffic issues with no way of paying for any recommendations!?!

how exciting
|
September 11, 2012
Gosh, this is really exciting. Another study!! That is something the Powers that Be do so well! Glad to see they are still on the job and not fretting too much about the lack of funds. They will have time to figure out how to raise our taxes enough to make it work!

Just have to love those studies!!
wham, bam,..
|
September 11, 2012
..thank-you ma'm!

We just got screwed!!

We certainly see who runs the show,.. the engineers, contractors and road builders.

1.8 MILLION-- that's a WINDFALL!

MDJ, PLEASE do an investigative report & try to find exactly where every single PENNY of our tax money went, for this 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch your's, 'study'.

Enough is enough!!!
Broke $$
|
September 11, 2012
Rip off.
sure, it makes sense
|
September 11, 2012
to fund a study for a project for which there are no funds, and Lee pretends he doesn't know what the study will show...just how stupid do you think we are? Oh, that's right, we just stupidly re-elected Lee..
mk-port opens soon
|
September 11, 2012
Traffic sux in Cobb County.(and around all of metro). If you have to be on 75 during either rush hour and there's a wreck, you're stuck. There IS a wreck around the loops/Delk daily.

I'm just not as smart as the engineers/DOT exec., etc., but I would venture to say Cobb Parkway and 75 are just maxed out. I would not look for ways to increase traffic on those corridors, ie HOT lanes, reversable lanes, toll. I would look for absolutely any other option to taks some traffic AWAY from that roadway.

One important NEED that we will soon see was needed when the Port of Savannah opens was an OUTER WESTERN LOOP AWAY from 75/285.

This should have been shovel ready, planned, &1/2 way complete , whether T-Splost, or not. It should be a fed/state project.

Think traffics bad now? Just wait till the trucks hit us!!

EastCobb Voter
|
September 11, 2012
It must be nice to work for Croy Engineering and get paid to do "make work." With no funding source this study is yet another example of government waste.
anonymous
|
September 11, 2012
You’ve got it right now comes the pay back lots of studies to see what we study; they should have put reversible lanes into interstates years ago. All that would make too much sense and have Express Buses running into these areas if it was safe and nice people would ride them. It’s crony payback time now you haven’t seen nothing yet Timmy and Faye are just getting started!!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides