Kudos to MDJ columnist Don McKee for acknowledging Gov. Nathan Deal’s support for critical transportation improvements that will “get our people and goods moving again” (“TSPLOST or TIA, it needs TBF — to be fixed — by the Georgia Legislature,” Jan. 11).
The governor’s rousing support for this effort stems from his belief that it’s good for our economy, for future growth and for jobs-creation for voters to support the largest investment in transportation and mobility our region has ever seen.
Unfortunately, McKee seems under the impression there is not enough in the referendum for Cobb commuters, citing “$689 million for ‘enhanced premium transit service.’” In reality, Cobb will receive $1.05 billion in transportation improvements — more than its fair share of the $6.1 billion for the 10-county region. Cobb commuters will also benefit from transportation improvements throughout the region.
McKee also quotes James Bell of the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance that “only after the tax is passed will feasibility studies be done.” Actually, feasibility studies are under way and preliminary results will be available in May prior to the July 31 referendum.
The Transportation Investment Act specifically includes Bus Rapid Transit that builds on the success of Cobb Community Transit Route 10, one of the busiest public transit bus routes in the Southeast. Bus Rapid Transit from Acworth to the Arts Center Station, will include platforms and stations, right-of-way, parking and operations and maintenance costs. This project will improve operations, relieve congestion and serve local and commuter trips.
Cobb leaders responded to public input by including $47 million allocated to improvements to the heavily congested interchange at Interstate 75 North and Windy Hill Road. This project can be completed and open to traffic years earlier than under current state funding.
As Gov. Deal noted, “Georgia can either go forward with this wise investment or our transportation system will be stuck in the past while we’re stuck in traffic.”
We’re confident the citizens of Cobb will vote for transportation improvements that will relieve congestion in the county and will greatly enhance their commutes throughout the entire metro region.
Michael E. Paris
Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network